Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill defeated, Kejriwal victorious

An hour-and-a-half after the Assembly session started, Kejriwal in a surprise move got up to seek leave of the House to introduce the bill.

Pallavi Polanki February 14, 2014 21:45:44 IST
Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill defeated, Kejriwal victorious

Armed with a bill doomed to be defeated, Arvind Kejriwal was allowed to play the martyr by the Speaker of Delhi Assembly today who let him introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill despite the letter from the Lieutenant Governor directing him not to do so.

An hour-and-a-half after the Assembly session started, Kejriwal in a surprise move got up to seek leave of the House to introduce the bill. The Speaker, who didn't interrupt Kejriwal despite the L-G's message — which only minutes earlier he had read out after members demanded that it be placed before them — nearly brought the House down when he went on to give his "permission to table the bill" and urged the House to "discuss the Bill."

Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill defeated Kejriwal victorious

Arvind Kejriwal at the assembly. PTI

Stunned and angry, MLAs stormed the well of the House, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the session briefly.

When he returned, it was only to be told by the senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi that as Speaker he did not have the power to give permission to introduce a bill. "The House alone has the power to give permission to introduce a bill or not," Mukhi said in the Assembly.

Reminding the Speaker that L-G's letter was an "aadesh" and not a "sandesh", Leader of Opposition Harsh Vardhan urged the Speaker to seek a vote from the House to seek its opinion on the issue.

The BJP leader was seconded by Congress MLA Arvinder Singh Lovely. "I ask you with folded hands to follow the rules. You cannot give permission to introduce the Bill, it for the House to decide," Lovely said in the Assembly.

Now, with Kejriwal already having been allowed to seek the leave of the House to introduce the bill, the Speaker left with no choice but to call for a vote on the introduction of the Bill. Kejriwal was only minutes away from the martyrdom he seemed to have so desperately wanted.

With the introduction, Jan Lokpal Bill defeated with 27 votes for and 42 votes against and Kejriwal emerged the winner, having succeeded in forcing the hand of the Congress and BJP to vote against the it. With no better issue than an anti-corruption bill on which to sacrifice his government, Kejriwal, it seems, has gifted himself and his party with a perfect theme for an election campaign ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

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