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Non-committal BJP plays safe

Will move amendments only after bill’s introduced; silence sparks rumours that BJP is okay with govt draft.

delhi Updated: Dec 21, 2011 23:42 IST
Vikas Pathak
Vikas Pathak
Hindustan Times

A day before the introduction of the lokpal bill in the Lok Sabha, the BJP kept its cards close to its chest and is waiting for the bill's formal circulation.

Refusing to react to media reports, party leaders said they will move amendments after the bill's introduction depending on whether its language digresses from the party's dissent note submitted to the parliamentary panel on Lokpal.

“We will move amendments if the bill does not take account of the points we made. But since the bill is expected to be introduced on Thursday morning, the amendments will be post-introduction,” Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told reporters.

On Tuesday night, party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar had reacted to reports on the bill calling it a betrayal.

The party's silence on Wednesday fuelled speculation that the government had won its confidence. But Swaraj said there were no discussion with the government on the bill's contents.

In their dissent note, BJP had suggested splitting the CBI's investigative and prosecuting wings, with the director of prosecution to be appointed by a collegium comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the lokpal chairperson, rather than being an officer on deputation from the law ministry.

Prosecutors, the MPs said, should independently appraise the evidence rather than blindly follow on the probe wing.

The BJP, unlike Team Anna, had made no demand for merging the CBI with the Lokpal, only insisting on its autonomy.

It had also demanded a collegium for the CBI director's appointment and the lokpal's supervision on CBI only in cases the anti-graft watchdog refers to the CBI, much like the government's Bill.

The BJP's demand of linking the citizens' charter with the lokpal through a “second appeal”, BJP feel, has been accommodated. The party had also asked for PM's inclusion, except on issues of national security and public order.

First Published: Dec 21, 2011 23:41 IST