As the government appeared determined to push through the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha Tuesday,leaders of most parties at a meeting here Monday agreed to extend it a helping hand. While they agreed to pass it even during a din,they insisted upon the government to not deploy marshals.
Amidst this broad understanding,the Samajwadi Party and the Shiv Sena vowed to oppose the anti-graft legislation. Neither the SP nor the Sena participated in the meeting convened by Rajya Sabha chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari. The BSP was also missing,but sources said party leaders were preoccupied with a national executive meeting.
We are of the opinion that if this Bill comes into force,no minister,no bureaucrat will sign any file and the whole decision-making process will come to a standstill, SP floor leader in Rajya Sabha Ram Gopal Yadav said.
We feel there is no need for having a Lokpal, Sena leader in the Upper House Sanjay Raut told The Indian Express. We have been opposed to the idea from the outset and we continue to oppose it, Raut added.
Yadav,when asked if the SP will disrupt the proceedings Tuesday,said,We will oppose it…. Our stand has not changed…. If the need arises,we will disrupt the House.
The Congress reviewed its strategy at a core group meeting which was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said,The Lokpal Bill is the highest priority of the government…. We want both Houses to pass it in this session…. If needed,we will extend the session.
While responding to another question,Nath said,All parties will continue to persuade the Samajwadi Party to join in passing the Bill. The government,according to the sources,had conceded the BJP demand that no CBI official,probing cases referred to by the Lokpal,be transferred without the concurrence of the Lokpal.
Seeking to source the SP belligerence to the Congress,BJP spokessman Prakash Javadekar asked the ruling party to explain why could it not prevail upon the SP when it had managed to get Mulayams support whenever it was needed during the last nine years.
Support came for the Bill from another quarter too. We welcome the Lokpal Bill, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told the media at Patna.
Meanwhile,Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley is learnt to have given a notice for suspension of the Question Hour to take up the Lokpal Bill at the start of the House itself.
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