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Lokpal Debate

Midnight drama in RS;govt ducks vote on Lokpal


AGENCIES | New Delhi, December 30, 2011 10:48
Tags : Lokpal Bill | Constitutional Amendment Bill | Rajya Sabha debate | UPA ducks vote |

Rajya Sabha witnessed high midnight drama as the government announced an abrupt end to the session with out putting Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill to vote. UPA ally Trinamool Congress stood firm on its opposition to the bill making it impossible for the government to harness numbers to pass it.

The floor managers of the UPA had an embarrassing time in the house yeseterday as the opposition insisted on a division on the bill. The government shied away from division as it was short of numbers and Chairman Hamid Ansari announced adjournment at the stroke of midnight with out fixing the next sitting, leaving the fate of the bill in limbo.

The opposition alleged that the drama was choreographed by the government to fool the country. Later, members of the BJP and the Left staged a protest in the Parliament complex for not passing the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

As the Opposition stood for the Bill be put to vote without delay, union minister PK Bansal said the government was willing provided the House passed the Bill voted by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. This meant that the amendments proposed to be moved by the Opposition would have to be kept aside.

As stalemate and wrangling continued, the Chairman called an end to the proceedings. But the government Couldn't ensure support from its on allies in this matter. Trinamool Congress was quite vocal in its opposition to the provisions related to creation of Lokayukta by the Lokpal Bill. Trinamool had moved over 20 amendments and its MP Sukendu S. Roy made it clear that the party would oppose the bill in its present form. It also demanded deletion of all the clauses related to Lokayukta from the Bill.

Later, the Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley charged that the government was running away from Parliament and that it amounted to the UPA being reduced to a minority and that the House and not the government should decide how long it should sit.

“A government which did not have the numbers in the House has consciously first choreographed a debate so that it cannot be concluded before 12 o' clock,” Jaitley said.

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said the House had been waiting since Wednesday for the Bill to arrive for discussion which came only on Thursday, the last day of the sitting.

Though the government tried to rope in support from BSP, SP and RJD, it couldn't make any headway. These parties supporting the government from outside also announced their opposition to the Bill and their determination to vote against it. The ruling coalition, has less than 100 members in the 243-member House and was short of the numbers to pass the bill.

The Trinamool later slammed the government over the Bill being deferred in the Rajya Sabha, saying it was a “shameful” day for democracy and a result of “orchestrated chaos.”

Trinamool leader Dereck O'Brien said his party was “disappointed” at the turn of events. The party had planned to push for some of its amendments and seek a division.

The Congress said it was the government's prerogative on how to take forward the Bill, which had been passed by the Lok Sabha.

The BJP's Yashwant Sinha targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Sinha calling him “mauni baba” for remaining silent and failing to respond to his party colleague Jaitley's suggestion in the Rajya Sabha that the House should sit beyond midnight to take up voting on the Bill.

“It is a bad day for democracy,”  Sinha said, adding the developments were unfortunate.


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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017