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Withdraw Lokpal Bill; bring an effective bill: BJP

BJP today asked the govt to introduce an "effective" bill, but made it clear that some provisions of the Team Anna draft and the deadline set by it for passing the legislation were not acceptable to the party.

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2011 21:49 IST

The BJP on Tuesday asked the government to withdraw the present Lokpal Bill and introduce an "effective" bill in Parliament, but made it clear that some provisions of the Team Anna draft and the deadline set by it for passing the legislation were not acceptable to the party.

"If required, the government should withdraw the Lokpal Bill and introduce an effective bill. The present bill which is with the Standing Committee is feeble and ineffective," BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha SS Ahluwalia told reporters.

Asked if the Jan Lokpal Bill, prepared by Team Anna Hazare, was acceptable to the BJP, he said, "We agree with certain portions of the draft, while some parts can be improved upon. There are some provisions which cannot be acceptable to us at all."

The BJP is also not in agreement with Team Anna that the bill should be passed by August 30, he said, adding Parliament procedures should be duly followed and this will take time.

The main opposition party appealed to the government to be "sensitive" towards Hazare's deteriorating health in view of his ongoing indefinite fast, and expedite the process of negotiations to reach a solution.

Interestingly, the BJP has opted to watch the developments between Team Anna and the government and not become a party to it till tomorrow's all-party meeting called by the Prime Minister.

"We do not know the agenda of the all-party meeting. What they are going to discuss... We have already ventilated our views on the issue," Ahluwalia said.

The BJP has only stated that the Prime Minister should be in the ambit of the Lokpal and the process of appointment of the ombudsman should not be such that an official nominee ends up occupying the post.

"As per the present Lokpal Bill, the government will have a majority in the selection panel for the Lokpal. In the case of CVC appointment, it was seen that though the leader of Opposition was against PJ Thomas appointment as CVC, the Prime Minister and home minister voted for it," Ahluwalia said.

He insisted that the government should not have a majority in the panel responsible for appointment and removal of the Lokpal.

"This government's commitment and seriousness on the issue is not reflected in the present Lokpal Bill," he said.

The BJP was also unhappy that in the Lower House, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj was not allowed to speak on the situation prevailing in the country in the wake of Hazare's fast.

"Swaraj had given a notice for suspension of Question Hour in Lok Sabha to discuss the adverse situation prevailing in the country since the last two-three days. Lakhs of people have taken to the streets and their demand is for bringing legislation on fighting corruption. In her notice, she further said that people have lost patience as there is big scale corruption now," Ahluwalia said.

Swaraj had said that the Lokpal Bill is "toothless and visionless" and should be thrown in the dustbin.

Prakash Javadekar, who had given a similar notice in the Rajya Sabha, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should make a statement in Parliament on the issue.

First Published: Aug 23, 2011 20:11 IST