Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla today described the failure to pass the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha last week as a “conspiracy” by the BJP to protect its corrupt chief ministers.
Talking to reporters here,Shukla said BJP wanted a strong Lokpal at the Centre and wanted the Lokayukta provision to be left to the states.
“They wanted to strip the Prime Minister of all powers but allow Chief Ministers to have their say in Lokayuktas. Parties like BSP,Akali Dal,AIADMK got carried away with the BJP’s argument. But the conspiracy was thwarted,” he said.
“If the common man faces the brunt of corruption,it is mostly at the state government machinery level,” he said.
Shukla said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi did not want a Lokayukta in his state while in Karnataka the BJP took two years to take action on the Lokayukta report and removed the Chief Minister after intense pressure.
The Minister said the Lokpal Bill has not lapsed. “It is very much alive. The discussion is inconclusive since the minister’s reply was not completed,” he said.
Asserting the UPA government’s intentions to enact a strong Lokpal Bill,Shukla said opposition has a right to bring amendments to any Bill. It is up to the House to decide whether to accept them or not.
“We would like to urge the Opposition to go through the contents of the Draft bill and accept it since it fulfils all requirements to curb corruption,” he said.
The government will take up the bill in the budget session,the minister said adding that the UPA plans to convince all parties to accept the Bill’s provisions and not fall prey to BJP’s conspiracy.
To a question on criticism that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had remained silent spectator when the Bill failed to pass through in the Rajya Sabha,Shukla said the Prime Minister had given a detailed statement In the Loksabha.
“It is not necessary for him to speak everywhere,” he said.
Replying to a question on Opposition questioning the government’s motive to bring a strong Lokpal,Shukla said if the government’s intentions were not good in fighting corruption,would it have brought judicial accountability,Whistleblowers Bill and the Money Laundering Bill along with the RTI Act and also sign agreements with 22 countries to bring back blackmoney,he asked.
When asked about the failure of the government to give constitutional status to the Lokpal,Shukla said the UPA had a simple majority and not two third in the Loksabha. “The onus to pass the constitutional amendment bill was upon all parties and not just the government,” he added.
Admitting that the government was in a minority in the Rajya Sabha,Shukla expressed confidence that the political equations and the numbers in Rajya Sabha may change after the assembly elections to five states.