Lokpal Bill to be discussed today

Lokpal Bill to be discussed today

Lokpal Bill to be discussed today

This also means that the government has all but come to a conclusion over some of the key but controversial issues on which most political parties differed at a recent all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Singh himself disclosed that the Cabinet meeting would be held on Sunday to discuss the issue. It would also discuss the ambitious proposal of the Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi — the Food Security Bill.

The government hopes to get the Lokpal Bill passed in the current session of Parliament which may be extended either to meet from December 27 or January 4. The winter session is otherwise slated to end on December 22.

The decision of the government to advance the Cabinet meeting came on a day when anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare shot off a letter to the PM in which he threatened to go ahead with his proposed fast and “jail bharo” agitation. Hazare alleged that the government’s behaviour was “not at all right.”

Alleging that the UPA has given assurances on Lokpal Bill but every time betrayed people, he said Singh in the past few months has assured him in writing that a strong Lokpal Bill will be passed in Parliament’s Winter Session.

“We suspended all our agitations till winter session taking your word on face value. Reports published in media now say that the winter session will end on December 23. Will the Lokpal Bill be passed by then. We have doubts on this.

“...despite your promises, if a strong, independent and effective bill is not passed in the session, I will be forced to sit on a fast from December 27. Jail Bharo agitation will start from December 30,” Hazare said in his four-page letter.

Hazare, who was critical of the government’s decision to bring out a separate bill on citizens’ charter, said it was part of the ‘sense of Parliament’resolution passed in August, 2011.

“Now, you have gone back on it,” he told the prime minister. Also criticising the move not to bring the entire CBI under Lokpal, he said it would serve no purpose and added,  “it was better not to have such a Lokpal at all.”

Govt working hard

The PM, speaking to journalists on board his special flight on his way back from Moscow, said his government was working “day and night” to give shape to the Lokpal Bill and will make all the effort to pass the Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament.