Lokpal Bill in budget session: PC

Lokpal fiasco: Chidu admits to differences in UPA

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday admitted that while the UPA government bent over backwards to accommodate opinions of political parties on the contentious Lokpal Bill and Lok Ayukta Bill 2011, it failed “in handling the floor management effectively while trying to get it(Bill) cleared.''

Chidambaram also admitted that the UPA “failed in being able to convince its ally Trinamool Congress (TMC) on the issue of Lokayukta,” but expressed confidence that “we would be able to get the Lokpal Bill cleared after accepting and fine-tuning some of the amendments” in the Budget session of Parliament.

At a press meet here, the home minister lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for scuttling the Lokpal Bill by moving as many as 187 amendments in Rajya Sabha, “with one of them being moved at 6 pm.” He said in his entire career as a parliamentarian he had never come across the quantum of amendments being moved.

 “It was an ingenious method adopted by BJP along with some other parties to push 187 amendments. Assuming if we had accepted some of it, then as per the procedure it would have gone to Lok Sabha again for acceptance…the number of amendments they moved made it impossible to analyse, classify and distill them and prudence dictated to hold it back.

“If all the amendments had been accepted it would have been a totally unrecognizable bill and it would have been what is called shreds and patches…Parliament would have become a laughing stock amongst jurists after it had become a law,” he pointed out.

The home minister rubbished the canard that political parties were hand-in-glove in putting the Lokpal Bill in a limbo. He charged that the BJP never wanted the Lokpal to pull through.He said it appeared that it was the BJP that had entered into an agreement with some parties to move 187 amendments.

Unwilling to be drawn into any controversy over Anna Hazare’s agitation, the minisster said: “Inclusion of Lok Ayukta is a key demand by Anna Hazare. So we had a new chapter on Lok Ayukta and BJP suddenly had a problem with it… raising the issue of federalism as the Lok Ayukta would be functioning at the state level and while it (BJP) wants Lokpal at the Centre it certainly does not want it at the state-level.”

Defending the deferring of the Lokpal Bill 2011 in Rajya Sabha, Chidambaram contended that it was done so as to ensure that the bill remains alive and be taken up in the forthcoming Budget session.

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