Government asks Anna to put agitation plans on hold
Hazare to go on 1-day fast tomorrow
Vibha Sharma, Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 9. No Parliamentary document has perhaps generated so much public interest and speculation as the report on the contentious Lokpal Bill, which the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice today submitted to the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.
Chairman Abhishek Singhvi claimed to have completed the complicated task assigned to the panel — examining the Bill and giving recommendations — with 100% agreement on 13 of the 24 issues it set out to scrutinise over two months ago.
But even before Singhvi could complete the formality of tabling the Bill came the criticism from the BJP. It accused Singhvi of unnecessarily binding simple issues in legal complexities, also wondering whether it was an attempt to make passage of the legislation difficult.
Team Anna also rejected the report, saying they would oppose “tooth and nail” the committee’s proposals on the ombudsman. Hazare will go on a one-day fast on Sunday in protest against the Standing Committee proposals.
Claiming that the committee recommendations, if implemented, would increase corruption, Anna Hazare said only Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appeared to be serious about Lokpal.
Describing Rahul Gandhi as the main roadblock to a strong Lokpal, he said: “Since Rahul Gandhi has spoken on the matter, we have doubts that he is pressuring them (committee members). Rahul doesn’t want to end corruption. If corruption ends, their powers will reduce,” Anna said.
Meanwhile, ahead of Anna Hazare’s proposed dharna on Sunday, the government advised Team Anna to wait for the passage of the Bill before going ahead with his agitation plans.
“They should all wait for a decision in Parliament. People can give their views and Parliament takes the decision,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.
“It amuses and bemuses me that discussions will be held at Jantar Mantar,” Bansal added, saying that issues, if any, should be resolved in an atmosphere of peace and amity and not by vitiating it.
Submitted on International Anti-Corruption Day, the report recommends making the anti-corruption agency – the Lokpal - a Constitutional body. While Group A and B bureaucrats have been kept under the ambit of Lokpal, Group C officials are recommended to be placed under the CVC which would file a quarterly report. Team Anna had batted for the inclusion of the lower bureaucracy under Lokpal. This the government had initially opposed. But Congress members on the panel gave a dissent note demanding that the CVC be placed under Lokpal.