Thursday, December 15, 2011

No consensus on Lokpal

The all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has failed to develop consensus among all parties on Lokpal. Divergent views emerged among the political parties over what should and in what form come under the ambit of Lokpal to check corruption.

The all-party meeting also clearly reflected that the views expressed by political parties outside were completely different from what they expressed inside. Almost all opposition parties had shared the dais with anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare’s token fast and protest for a day at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on December 11 and expressed in support of all most main provision that he wants to be incorporated in Lokpal. But when they participated in the all-party meeting of Prime Minister, they sang a little bit different note.

Even the big Opposition party like CPM felt that it would be very difficult to introduce the Bill in this session of Parliament due to paucity of time, though the party wants it to be introduced in this session itself. Likewise, no political party was in agreement of introducing the bill in a hurry. Considering the divergent opinions among political parties, the UPA government did not express its views nor did it commit about introduction of the Lokpal Bill in the ongoing session. It is also not inappropriate to say that to bring historical and strong Lokpal Bill require adequate time to formulate.

The various political parties also cautioned the government to not act in haste under the duress of Anna Hazare. As the government did not express its view on Lokpal nor did it commit to introduce the anti-graft bill in the ongoing session of Parliament, it now appears certain that it would bring and adopt in the next session after paying adequate time and consultations with all parties concerned into the making of strong and historical anti-graft bill.

To finalize the nitty-gritty of the bill is the responsibility and duty of the government and to hold reasoned debate and discussion on it inside the Parliament is the prerogative of parliamentarians. It is also not possible to incorporate comma and full stop of the sense of the House in its considered opinion in finality of the Lokpal Bill. The considered view of both houses of Parliament matters most on Lokpal.

All party meeting has also made it clear that Parliament is supreme authority to make any law to deal with corruption. Law is not made on the road. It will only be made in Parliament in parliamentary democracy, no matter a protester even puts his life at risk by undertaking prolonged fast and protest.

Sensing the mood of the political class that no political party is going to side with him whole-heartedly, Anna Hazare has appealed UPA defiant partner West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Bannerjee to ensure the passage of strong Lokpal Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament. He expects from her as stiff posture to bring and adopt strong Lokpal Bill in the ongoing session as her opposition led to the suspension of 51 per cent FDI in multi-brand retail, though on Lokpal she is in agreement with the UPA government at the Centre. Finally, the message has gone out to the public that cold shouldering of strong Lokpal Bill by all political classes has swept it under the carpet for the time being at least.

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