Daggers drawn on Lokpal as LS prepares to decide bill's fate

Anna upset with draft, Lalu wants quota and Sonia ready for a fight

prasanna

Prasanna Mohanty | December 22, 2011




Battles lines have been drawn clearly over the Lokpal bill. The bill will be introduced in Lok Sabha later this afternoon and will immediately be taken up for discussion and passage so that it could then be moved to Rajya Sabha. The winter session has been extended by three days, post-Christmas, to ensure that the bill is passed and sent for the presidential nod before the new year sets in and Anna Hazare begins his jail bharo andolan.

See updates from parliament

Read the text of the Lokpal Bill, attached below

The emotions are running high. After UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi adopted a combative posture yesterday saying that her party was "ready for a fight" against malicious misinformation and forces out to "destabilise" her government (read: Sonia to fight for Lokpal, women's quota), the Congress members are geared up to counter all opposition to get the bill passed. Anna Hazare has, in the meanwhile, declared that he would go ahead with his three day fast from December 27 in Mumbai and then start a ‘jail bharo’ andolan against the government’s attempt to present a weak and ineffective anti-corruption legislation. (Read: Anna to Sonia: How is this lokpal strong?)

The main opposition party, the BJP, may seem willing to go along with the government, except for some amendments it plans to move, the real challenge will come from the Yadav troika – Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh and Sharad Yadav – who had foiled the government’s earlier attempt to introduce women’s reservation bill in the lower house. The troika is worried that the legislation will usher in a ‘police raj’. It is also opposed to the government’s rush to have the bill cleared in this very session.

Also read:Lokpal headed the CVC way

Lalu Prasad has an additional grouse. He wants the government to explain why it removed minorities’ representation in the nine-member Lokpal body. The government had earlier said 50 percent of the members will come be reserved for the SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities and women.

Amid much drama and shouting matches, after twoadjournments, the Lokpal bill has now been tabled. It will be taken up for further discussion in the Lok Sabha.

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