Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has said the government might consider accepting one or two amendments to the Lokpal Bill to ensure majority in Rajya Sabha.
Addressing a news conference here on Saturday,Chidambaram said it could be hard work but hoped that the parties would rethink their stands. He said the government was firm on passing the Bill and would complete the unfinished business in the Budget session.
Admitting that they failed to convince a key UPA ally,he said the government was taken by surprise by the Trinamool stance on Lokpal. We thought we had convinced the TMC in Lok Sabha. But after December 27,they changed their position. On December 29,they insisted that they were not satisfied with the proviso introduced and demanded that we must delete it altogether. We are confident that between now and the Budget session,we will be able to refine and redraft that proviso.
On the Bill,he said,Not all 187 amendments can be accepted,but between now and Budget session,we can see which amendments can be accepted; to agree on a set of changes which will have majority support. Whatever changes we make in the RS,must be acceptable to LS. He said if the government had accepted 187 amendments,this Bill would have been in shreds and patches and would have been a laughing stock of jurists.
Asked about the Team Anna decision to campaign against the Congress in the upcoming elections in five states,Chidambaram said he hoped that Anna Hazare recognised that the BJP had opposed the Lokayukta chapter. The common man is affected by corruption at the lowest level which is state purview and the BJP opposes Lokayukta. They do not want Lokayukta in states but want Lokpal at the Centre. That should be the topic of campaign.
He sought to clarify that there was no fixing in the incident of the RJD members tearing a copy of the Bill in the House. There is no fixing. The BJP seems to have come to a political understanding with one or two political parties to together move 187 amendments. One member entered the Well and created a flutter. That was a side show. The real obstacle was the BJP moving 187 amendments.
Criticising the BJP for its role in the Lok Sabha that led to the Bill not getting constitutional status,Chidambaram said the Bill was ultimately passed with the BJP voting against it. They did not support the Bill. But because they had a certain number of votes,they defeated the constitutional status. He said the moment the Opposition introduced 187 amendments at 6 pm,it was pretty clear to anyone that they did not intend to pass the Bill. The intention was to scuttle the Bill in the Rajya Sabha,he said.