BJP smells a rat in report

BJP smells a rat in report

“There seems to be an attempt to make the report so complicated that passage of the Bill becomes difficult. I feel this is the intention behind some of the proposals in the report. It has ignored the political and social wisdoms and got involved in legalisms,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said here at a press conference.

Jaitley pointed out that the Committee report on Lokpal Bill had faced as many as 17 dissent notes on various issues, when the norm is that it should be passed with consensus as far as possible. Jaitley said that he would  stick to notes of dissent, given by its members against the standing committee report, both inside and outside Parliament, adding that the BJP was opposed to complete exclusion of the prime minister, Citizens' Charter and lower bureaucracy from the ambit of the Lokpal.

“The Prime Minister must be held accountable before the Lokpal in relation to his conduct. We are not in agreement to the suggestion that if a prime minister is held guilty of corruption, the nation must continue to accept him and hold him accountable only after he ceases to be a prime minister,” he said.

The suggestion of deferred punishment to the prime minister was flawed. “Why should the country continue to suffer till such a prime minister goes out of office... He can be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC. Both do not give immunity to the PM,” Jaitley said.

Alleging that the government had gone against the “sense of the House” expressed in the last session of Parliament on the Lokpal Bill, he said the report of the committee would  hurt the credibility of the UPA government. “It has given an additional tool in the hands of those who feel that this government does not keep its word,” he added.

To a question why the government would do so as failure to pass the Bill would mean facing the wrath of Anna Hazare, Jaitley said it could be attributed to the differences within the Manmohan Singh dispensation. “This is a government of sulking individuals. Its depleting moral fabric will be further weakened,” he added.

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