Opposition in U turn: asks govt not to pass lokpal 'in haste'
The government has been advised by the opposition to exercise caution and not to pass the Lokpal in haste as it will have long term repercussions.
Days after a united opposition shared the dais with Anna Hazare demanding a strong Lokpal at the earliest, it has asked the government to exercise caution and not to pass the Lokpal in haste as it will have long term repercussions.
Although no consensus was reached at the all party meet convened at the prime minister's residence on Wednesday, many opposition parties including NDA allies and senior political leaders asked the government not to pass the bill in haste and give out the impression that the legislation was being finalised under duress.
After the three hour meeting on key provisions of the bill, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the government would require "reasonable time" to finalise the legislation and that it could "spill over" beyond the winter session which is slated to end on 22 December.
With Anna Hazare threatening to go on an indefinite hunger strike and launch a jail bharo aandolan starting January 1, 2012, Mohan Singh of the Samajwadi Party and CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta said the government should not succumb to anyone threatening to give up his life for the bill.
Leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Prasad, Ramvilas Paswan and BSP representative Satish Mishra also strongly argued that while the Lokpal bill was a necessity, it should not be hurried.
Even NDA allies like the Shiv Sena and Janata Dal (United) have questioned Hazare's December deadline. Ironically it was just the preceding Sunday that Sharad Yadav, JD(U), had promised Hazare that not even a comma or full stop would be changed from the sense of the House that was adopted on the bill in August. Yadav has been one of the most vocal in his opposition to the inclusion of PM under the Lokpal.
RJD leader Lalu Prasad asked the UPA to what extent they were willing to fight for the supremacy of Parliament in the wake of Hazare's latest threat.
Meanwhile all the parties stuck to their publicly stated position on the bill. On the contentious issue of whether the CBI should be brought under the lokpal, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj set the tone, saying her party had "never said that the CBI should be under the lokpal". However the party has said it will join Anna in sitting outside the houses of MP's who opposed the bill. The BJP is also demanding that the 22 December deadline be met.
Swaraj said the CBI should be freed from the government's control and an independent panel should appoint the probe agency's director. This view was supported by majority of the parties. Meanwhile the Cabinet is expected to meet this Sunday to study amendments to the Bill, based on last night's meeting.
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