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'BJP's real face exposed'

india Updated: Dec 29, 2011 00:43 IST
HT Correspondent
lokpal bill


The collapse of a bill that sought to give constitutional status to lokpal triggered a bitter war between the Congress and the BJP on Wednesday.

Both UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi accused the main opposition party of reneging on its commitment on the issue and said its "real face" has been exposed.

The BJP on its part hit back, saying the government stood exposed as it failed to muster the required numbers for getting the constitutional amendment bill passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

While the lokpal bill's passage came as a big relief for the UPA, the fall of the constitutional amendment bill caused a major embarrassment to the Congress-led government since the proposal was floated by Rahul in August as a "game-changer".

Leading the charge, the Sonia Gandhi said the BJP had committed itself to supporting the constitutional status to lokpal during the parliamentary standing committee deliberations.

"We wanted to strengthen lokpal bill but BJP did not want it and voted against it. We saw their real face yesterday," Sonia Gandhi said after hoisting the flag at the Congress headquarters on the party's foundation day.

Addressing an election meeting in Lakhimpur Kheri in UP, Rahul echoed his mother's views. "Congress wanted to give a strong Lokpal... we sat till midnight...we wanted to fight corruption... BJP leaders talked much about corruption outside parliament but when it came to passage of the bill, they voted against it.”

Rahul said it was done on the directives of senior BJP leaders. "Who gave the directive to do so? Senior leaders...all senior leaders Advani, Sushma were present in the House."

The BJP fielded leaders of the opposition in both the houses Sushma Swaraj (Lok Sabha) and Arun Jaitley (Rajya Sabha) to refute the charge.

"We have said our commitment is to a strong lokpal but we cannot support what is patently unconstitutional," Swaraj said. "We are not here to fulfil Rahul's dream."

On his part, Jaitley said granting constitutional status to Lokpal is of "no use" since the anti-corruption legislation was a "weak law".