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Govt trying to dilute Lokpal Bill: BJP

Jaitley writes to Hazare,says govt wants to introduce a ‘sarkari Lokpal’.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 12, 2013 12:38 am

The BJP Wednesday assured social activist Anna Hazare that it was committed to passing the legislation for an effective Lokpal Bill,and said the government was not sincere towards the anti-graft legislation.

Replying to Hazare’s letter on the issue,Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said the government had “further diluted the recommendations” of the Select Committee that examined the government’s Lokpal Bill.

Jaitley’s letter came as Hazare’s indefinite hunger strike at Ralegan Siddhi pressing for passage in Parliament of Jan Lokpal Bill entered the second day.

“Even then this diluted Bill is not being listed on the agenda for discussion. It appears that the government is not sincere in getting it placed on the agenda,” Jaitley said. “I can assure you that we will be second to none in pursuing this issue.”

The BJP leader also said the UPA was using “its majority in the Lok Sabha” to pass a “Sarkari Lokpal”. “The Bill which was approved by the Lok Sabha on 27th December 2011 was neither the Jan Lokpal,nor had it measured up to our expectations. The government used its majority in the Lok Sabha to pass this Bill which would have created the Lokpal not as an independent institution but as a government-controlled entity. Surely,creation of a Sarkari Lokpal could not be your objective or ours,” he said.

But Hazare was not satisfied with the BJP’s argument and said the party has failed to perform its role by not forcing the government to bring the legislation earlier. “I would be answering the letter on Thursday and I would ask him why did the opposition not ask about the Lokpal Bill earlier?” Hazare said. He,however,called up Jaitley to thank him for the letter.

He also charged the UPA government with cheating the citizens as “they had failed to list the Lokpal on the agenda of the Rajya Sabha.” Hazare said he would continue with the agitation till the Lokpal Bill is passed.

This,despite the crowd at the site of his fast thinning on the second day. “We are not here to get crowds,” he said.

“Two days before the Parliament session ends,I would call a meeting of my activists and then we would talk about our future course of action,” he said,adding that the present session of the Parliament could be extended to pass the Bill.

Hazare’s associate and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi,meanwhile,said she would be join his fast from Saturday since her “inner voice” told her to. “I have never fasted in my life but after meeting Anna,it dawned on me that I must join him,” she said.

Kejriwal heads to Ralegan

RALEGAN SIDDHI: Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement Wednesday that he will visit Anna Hazare in Ralegan Siddhi failed to evoke a response from the latter. But Hazare’s indifference was in sharp contrast to the mood of the villagers,who plan to give Kejriwal a hero’s welcome. Kejriwal has said that he,along with party member Kumar Vishwas,would travel to Ralegan Siddhi to meet Hazare. He said that in case he is prevented from going on the stage where Hazare is fasting,he would talk to him from below the stage. But when Hazare was asked about the planned visit,he said,“I have no comments.”

PARTHA SARATHI BISWAS

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