Opposition BJP on Tuesday asked the government to withdraw the present Lokpal Bill and introduce an “effective” bill in Parliament, while making it clear that some provisions of Team Anna’s draft and the deadline set by it for passing the legislation were not acceptable to it.
“If required, the government should withdraw the Lokpal Bill and introduce an effective bill. The present bill, which is with the Standing Committee , is feeble and ineffective,” BJP deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia said. Asked if the Jan Lokpal Bill prepared by Team Anna was acceptable to BJP, he said, “We agree with certain portions of the draft, while some parts can be improved upon. There are some provisions that cannot be acceptable to us at all.”
He said the BJP was also not agreeable to Team Anna’s demand that the bill be passed by August 30, adding that parliamentary procedures should be followed and this will take time. However, the party appealed to the government to be “sensitive” towards Hazare’s deteriorating health and expedite the process of negotiations to find a solution.
The BJP has opted to watch developments between the Hazare group and the government and not become a party to it till Wednesday’s all-party meeting called by the Prime Minister. “We don’t know the agenda of the meeting. What they are going to discuss… We have already expressed our views on the issue,” Ahluwalia said.
The ruling Congress camp is getting restless. MP Partap Singh Bajwa has demanded that Rahul Gandhi hold a dialogue with Anna Hazare to break the deadlock. The demand comes even as the party prepares to brief its MPs about Hazare’s protest at a parliamentary party meeting on Thursday. Finance minister and troubleshooter Pranab Mukherjee will brief the MPs while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may chair it in party chief Sonia Gandhi’s absence.
Following attacks from the opposition and pressure from civil society, the government has also called an all-party meet on Wednesday where all views, including PM’s inclusion in Lokpal would be discussed. The Congress is looking to pin down the opposition on the specifics of Hazare’s demands.
The BJP reacted against Team Anna’s call to picket residences of MPs to convince them of the Lokpal issue, warning that it could derail the non-violent movement and deflect it on the wrong path. “Picketing would be the wrong path to take for a movement that has been non-violent so far,” said S S Ahluwalia.