New Delhi, Dec 30 (IANS) The Lokpal Bill may not be have been passed by Rajya Sabha Thursday, but it is still alive to be taken up in the budget session of parliament in Feb-March next year, the government said Friday.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, during his customary post-session press conference here, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of doublespeak by first supporting Anna Hazare’s movement for a Lokpal and later getting the bill defeated in the Rajya Sabha.
He also dismissed suggestions that the government may convene a joint session of parliament to get the Lokpal Bill passed as it does not enjoy a majority in the Rajya Sabha and its coalition partner Trinamool Congress itself is opposed to some provisions in the legislation.
‘The Lokpal Bill is still alive and it will be taken up in the budget session of parliament,’ Bansal said here.
He said the Rajya Sabha session Thursday had to be adjourned sine die at midnight and that there was no way the sitting could have extended beyond that time.
‘The BJP knows that the sitting cannot go on after midnight, yet they were fielding speaker after speaker. If they were serious to get the Lokpal bill passed, they would have pressed for taking up the bill for passing much earlier and not at midnight,’ he said.
He also put up a brave face when asked how the Trinamool Congress was blaming the government for the failure in getting an effective anti-graft passed bill and for ‘choreographing’ the entire exercise in the Rajya Sabha that led to it being adjourned sine die without considering the Lokpal bill for passing.
‘They are free to have their views,’ Bansal said, adding that the government was talking to all its allies, including the Trinamool Congress, to arrive at a consensus.
‘We have to wait for three months anyway,’ he added.
Bansal said he was pained to hear Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley say that Thursday’s debate was choreographed by the government with the idea of avoiding a vote on the bill.
‘I, in fact, level this charge on them. The BJP was participating in the discussion and they did not at any time say, let’s end the debate and go for clause by clause consideration of the bill. They kept fielding their own members for debate till the last,’ Bansal said.
‘BJP did this to play politics and they changed their stand as they said something in Lok Sabha and something else in the Rajya Sabha,’ he said.
He said Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy was replying to the debate Thursday night when there was some restlessness in the opposition benches.
‘Suddenly we found a ruckus there the house was adjourned for 15 minutes. That was the stage which you would recollect I said the house has to adjourn by 12 midnight and the bill will remain pending on the register of Rajya Sabha and next time we can consider the amendments and pass the bill,’ Bansal said.
He said that there were 187 amendments to bill made by several parties and some of them were contradictory and could not be accommodated.
‘My allegation is that they brought large number of amendments only to see that the bill is not passed. Had we accepted all of them we would have led to a situation where parliament would have been rendered a laughing stock in the eyes of the people,’ Bansal said.
‘We would render ourselves to ridicule and mockery of people at large and that is the responsibility of the government and that is the difference in the functions of the opposition and the government.’