Govt accepts most demands but Oppn, Anna trash lokpal bill | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt accepts most demands but Oppn, Anna trash lokpal bill

india Updated: Dec 23, 2011 07:49 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The introduction of the new Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 in the Lok Sabha on Thursday immediately brought to the forefront the fault lines both within the political class as well as between the political class and Team Anna.

Parliament, which will reconvene for three days on December 27 to debate and pass the bill, is expected to witness further turbulence as parties took divergent and irreconcilable positions on several issues.

The focus of the members was mainly on the inclusion of the prime minister and MPs under the purview of the watchdog, reservation for minorities in the lokpal panel and establishment of lokayuktas in the states.

Thursday's unusual pre-introduction discussion was necessitated by objections raised by disparate political parties, led by leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj.

But it was RJD patriarch Lalu Prasad who stole the show -- his witty speech kept entertaining the House making serious political points at the same time.

The mood in the House and outside, too, summed up the government's dilemma.

The government bent backwards to accommodate the Opposition and Team Anna, but both refused to accept the bill.

Speaking for the govt, Pranab Mukherjee said any concerns the MPs had regarding particular provisions could be addressed during the discussion, but he rejected the charge that the bill was being hurried through.

"I would like to assure that there is no question of undue haste. The country is waiting for 40 years - not one or two days - for the lokpal bill. Several governments have come and gone," Mukherjee said. He also rebutted the Opposition claim that the government appeared to be under pressure from Hazare's latest threat to go on fast from December 27, reminding CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta that his strident anti-Hazare tone in the House was in sharp contrast to his party leaders having shared the stage with team Anna recently at Jantar Mantar.

Earlier, Swaraj objected to the introduction of the bill, saying it provided for a 50% reservation in the Lokpal panel, which was against the Constitution, and the inclusion of minorities within the reservation category was illegal.

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