Team Anna disappointed over Lokpal
Voicing disappointment over passage of a "useless" Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha, Team Anna today said it appeared the legislation is headed for a joint session of Parliament as the Rajya Sabha may pass a version different from the one already passed.
Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said the bill passed in Lok Sabha was "useless" as it was not the one people asked for.
"Our protest and fast is on. We will now see what will happen in Rajya Sabha," Bhushan told reporters. This bill is "very weak" as it has not given any prosecution powers to Lokpal besides keeping CBI out of the ombudsman's ambit, he said.
When asked whether Team Anna will also oppose parties other than Congress, he did not give a direct answer but said they will see the stand taken by the parties and then decide whether to oppose them in electoral campaigns.
Hazare had earlier announced that he will campaign against Congress-led government in the five poll-bound states.
Queried about the low turnout at Ramlila Maidan, he said it was not like that way as some people have projected.
"There were well over 5,000 people yesterday and around 7-8,000 in the afternoon. In Mumbai, according to me, there were 25,000. This is reasonably good. You cannot say that the support for the movement has fallen. People keep telling us that they are supporting us and are still with us," he said.
Yesterday at Ramlila Maidan, the crowd was estimated between 1-2,000 at its peak.
With numbers stacked against government in Rajya Sabha for passage of Lokpal Bill, Kiran Bedi said the legislation appeared headed for a joint session of Parliament as the Upper House may pass a version different from the one passed in Lok Sabha.
"It looks like we will have two different bills passed in two houses. Is Lokpal Bill heading towards a joint session? Result is still unpredictable," Bedi said.
If different versions of the bill are passed and one of the Houses refuses to accept the amendment by the other, the President can summon a joint session of the two houses which is presided over by Lok Sabha Speaker. The bill can be passed by a simple majority.
Till now, three bills -- Dowry Prohibition Act (1961), Banking Service Commission Repeal Bill (1978) and Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (2002) -- have been passed in joint sessions.
The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 was passed by a voice vote late last night after government moved ten official amendments taking into account the demands raised by Opposition parties and allies. In 245-member Rajya Sabha, the government side does not have the requisite number to get the bill passed.
Bedi also expressed hope that the BJP will introduce the key amendment of CBI's administrative control out of government.
On conferring Constitutional status for Lokpal, which failed to get the requisite two-third majority in Lok Sabha, she said it was a "deliberate diversionary tactic" by Congress.
"Congress knew it did not have the numbers," she claimed.