Game of deception

Game of deception

The Opposition parties have colluded with the govt.

It is shameful that the Lokpal bill, which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha this week, has again been pushed into cold storage with its reference to a joint select committee of Parliament. The government used a devious tactic for it by presumably getting a proposal for reference by a member of a friendly party. The fact that it was introduced at the fag end of the session was proof of the government’s intentions. Not just the government and its supporting parties, but others too wanted the bill deferred indefinitely. The committee is expected to give its report by the last week of the monsoon session. Even if it gives the report in time the bill may not be considered and passed in the monsoon session. Only the brave and the naïve may now hope that the bill will be passed this year or even by the present Parliament.

The reasons for deferring the bill are not at all convincing. It hardly calls for further examination. It has been discussed and debated in various forms for the last 42 years, making it the most scrutinised legislation other than the women’s reservation bill, which too has been dumped in spite of all the lip service that it has received. No one would  agree that the bill needs more discussion after the extensive debates in Parliament, all parties’ meetings and in the public realm. The opposition parties also colluded with the government in deferring the bill. For public consumption the BJP criticised the move to refer the bill to the select committee, but ultimately it agreed to the formation of the committee. All the noise it has made in the past  for framing an effective anti-corruption mechanism and the support extended for the Anna Hazare movement have now been exposed as sham.

The movement, which had forced the government to revive the Lokpal legislation, has unfortunately lost some of its focus and steam. This has given the government and the  political establishment the opportunity to take advantage of the situation and as good as dump the bill which poses a threat to their vested interests. But it would be wrong if they think that the strength of public sentiment against corruption has waned and they can get away with deception and false excuses.

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