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Pass the bill or people will not forgive you: Sibal to BJP

india Updated: Dec 27, 2011 15:57 IST

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"If you don't pass this bill, the people of the country will never forgive you," telecom minister Kapil Sibal warned MPs as the Lokpal debate got off to a heated start with the Opposition insisting on a number of amendments.

Earlier, speaking in the Lok Sabha, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said that Lokpal Bill introduced by the government violates the federal structure of the Constitution. Swaraj dubbed the bill as full of deficiencies and wanted "the weak bill" to be sent back to the Parliamentary Standing Committee so as to make it "effective and strong".

"Accept our amendments or withdraw the Bill... Send it back to standing committee for further discussion," she said while describing it as a "patently unconstitutional" legislation which the Opposition will not "tolerate".

Replying to Sushma , Sibal said that government was committed to a strong Lokpal Bill and the Opposition's effort to stonewall it was nothing but a political conspiracy.

"Corruption is not in Centre-related services but rather in state governments and the proposed Lokpal suggests the creation of Lokayuktas in states, so what wrong it is doing?" Mr Sibal said while intervening in the debate on the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011.

He said what the government is doing by bringing the Lokpal Bill in Parliament is respecting the sense of the House, which was expressed on August 27 by the Lok Sabha.

He said the proposed anti-graft legislation in no way violated the Constitution as the articles cited by Sushma do not apply to the Lokpal.

Sibal charged the BJP with making political capital out of the Lokpal and it has got nothing to do with the legislation. He also cautioned the House against giving unbridled powers to the anti-graft ombudsman.

The HRD minister said though the office of the Prime Minister is sacrosanct the UPA government brought it under the Lokpal's ambit. He said the BJP does not want to root out corruption rather it desires to embrace it.

Sibal challenged Swaraj to make a statement in the House that her party will appoint Lokayuktas in the states where it is in power to which Swaraj said if the government promises to bring a strong Lokpal Bill in Parliament her party will have no hesitation in appointing Lokayuktas in BJP-ruled states.

Later, the House was adjourned for half an hour till 1430 hrs.