Govt sells new Lokpal Bill in Parliament, BJP and Anna reject it
Union minister V Narayanaswamy today moved the Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha for debate and passage. He claimed that government has brought out the best possible bill and has included the views of civil society and political parties. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj immediately rejected the bill, saying it infringed on states' rights and violated core principles of the Constitution. Social activist Anna Hazare, who is protesting in Mumbai, has already rejected the bill. Stage is set | All ready for Anna's agitation, says state | Poll panel to keep an eye on Team Anna | In pics | Giving in, in 3 stepsindia Updated: Dec 27, 2011 15:58 IST
Anna Hazare will begin a three-day fast in Mumbai on Tuesday morning to press for his demand for a "strong lokpal bill" and around the same time Lok Sabha will start its debate.
Hazare, who reached here last night from his village Ralegan Siddhi, paid respects at Mahatma Gandhi's statue in Juhu and proceeded to the fast venue, MMRDA ground, in suburban Bandra in a rally.
The rally will pass through Santacruz, Tulip Star hotel, Mithibai college, SV Road, Vile Parle, Khar and Bandra Highway.
Meanwhile, a handful of anti-Anna Hazare protesters today showed black flags to the anti-graft campaigner. The convoy of Hazare, on way to Mahatma Gandhi's statue on Juhu beach, was briefly stopped by around 20 men carrying black flags and national tricolour and shouting "Anna Hazare murdabad", close to the guest house where the activist stayed overnight.
The identity of the protesters was not immediately known. However, soon the convoy left for Juhu where Hazare paid respects at Mahatma Gandhi's statue, along with key members of his team Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Manish Sisodia and former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde. Kejriwal and Bedi are scheduled to fast with Hazare.
Earlier, Hazare, looking a bit under the weather left the state government guest house at Bandra. He was suffering from cold and fever and was under medication.
Hazare, after paying tributes to the father of the nation, sent for a mattress on which he sat in meditation in front of the Mahatma's statue. He will fast at the MMRDA ground at Bandra-Kurla Complex.
In Delhi, Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan, who will lead a separate eight-hour fats in the Capital's Ramlila ground on Tuesday, said: "In the open letter to the Prime Minister and MPs, we have asked for four changes, which are non-negotiable."
The demands are:
The CBI should come under the lokpal;
The lokpal at the Centre and the lokayuktas in the states should have the power to initiate investigations into cases of corruption even when there are no complaints;
The lokpal should be selected by consensus and not by majority decision within the selection panel; and The lokpal should have powers to probe Group C employees.
Meanwhile, in Delhi the Lok Sabha will create history today when it begins discussing the highly publicised lokpal bill to set up an anti-corruption ombudsman for the first time in six decades of independence.
Lokpal bills were introduced in one form or another in the Lok Sabha nine times since 1968 but never reached the stage of discussion and passing till now.
Top government sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee are likely to intervene in the debate, which will be opened by leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj.
Till late Monday, the speaker's office had received 56 amendments from Opposition parties.
The key amendments include granting autonomy to the CBI, a separate investigative wing for lokpal and making it optional for states to set up lokayuktas.