A bill to provide for establishment of Lokpal and Lokayuktas in states to probe corruption cases in government organisations was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011, already passed by Lok Sabha, was moved for consideration and passage in the House by minister of state for parliamentary affairs V Narayanasamy. The minister started a discussion in the House explaining the features of the bill. The Lokpals and Lokayuktas will enquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.
The UPA pride will be at stake when the Rajya Sabha votes on the bill. In the numbers game, UPA is well short of simple majority in the Rajya Sabha. While the government tries to manage the required numbers, Trinamool's opposition to a provision in the bill on setting up of Lokayuktas in the states and its decision to move amendment has become a big headache for the UPA. As the TMC is firm at moving the amendment against the wishes of Congress, the government is considering the option of sending the bill to a select committee, where specifics about the bill can be taken up by a joint select committee.
The Trinamool Congress on Thursday said that it would move an amendment in the Rajya Sabha on the issue of setting up of state Lokayuktas.
"After the meeting with Mr. Mukherjee, our Rajya Sabha leader Mukul Roy had a meeting with all the MPs and then we spoke to our chairperson in Kolkata and we are going to move the amendment," Trinamool's Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien said.
"We have spoken to Mamata Banerjee and whatever our decision was before we went to that meeting that decision remains unchanged," he added.
The Trinamool Congress, which has six members in the Rajya Sabha, has sought deletion of a provision on setting up of state Lokayuktas, stating that it was as good as tampering with the federal structure and the party would seek scrapping of this clause.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee was in talks with Congress ally Trinamool Congress, his colleague V Narayanasamy had said earlier in the day as the ruling party tried hard to muster votes to secure the passage of the Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha.