Bhushan challenges Kejriwal to public debate on Janlokpal Bill
Even as the AAP government has countered allegations of ‘diluting’ the proposed Janlokpal Bill 2015, scheduled to be tabled in Delhi assembly on Monday, ousted Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan challenged chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday for an open debate on the bill.
Speaking to reporters at his Noida residence, the Supreme Court advocate who played a critical role in the Jan Lokpal movement and drafting the Bill, also challenged the ruling party to ‘make public’ a copy of the legislation the AAP government wanted to table in February 2014 during its first stint.
Bhushan said “contrary to claims” made by the Arvind Kejriwal government, the proposed legislation is “completely” different from its previous 2014 version.
Unlike the 2014 Bill, Bhushan claimed, the 2015 Bill has several ‘glaring’ differences including those related to appointment and removal of the anti-graft ombudsman, the strength of the Lokpal committee, its jurisdiction and the manner in which Janlokpal would get the corruption cases investigated.
Bhushan, who was expelled from the party along with party ideologues Yogendra Yadav and Anand Kumar earlier this year, released a comparative study of the several Lokpal Bills and Acts, including the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2014, Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill, Centre’s Lokpal Act and Team Anna’s Janlokpal draft to prove the point that the “the Bill cleared by the Delhi Cabinet was the worst of all”.
“What do they (AAP) think? Is this why they have increased publicity budget to over R500 crore? They should think of having a ministry of propaganda. It’s as if they have been trained by Joseph Goebbels. The new Bill is completely different from the one tabled in 2014,” charged Bhushan.
The Delhi government is still to officially release even a draft copy of either version of the Bill. However, rebel AAP MLA Pankaj Pushkar who was suspended for two days from Delhi assembly on Friday, on Saturday made the 2015 Bill public, which he claimed to have got in his capacity as a member of the Delhi assembly’s Business Advisory Committee.
Reacting to Bhushan’s allegations, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh questioned as to why Bhushan and Yadav did not protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not appointing Lokpal at the Centre.
“AAP brings LOKPAL PB,YY,SB decide to stage a protest? Why? Double standard? Do you need more proof of collaboration between them-BJP. Modi has not appointed LOKPAL for last 18 months but Prashant, Yogendra, Shanti did not have time to criticise/protest till date. Why? (Sic.)” Ashutosh said in a series of tweets.