Team Anna members accused the government on Friday of playing a “well orchestrated drama in the Rajya Sabha” to block the passage of the Lokpal Bill.
Key members of Anna’s team – Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi – rubbished the government’s contention that it could not have continued the debate because of an unprecedented number of amendments, 187, moved by the members. They claimed that the government could have got the Bill passed if it would have conceded to just three amendments moved over the issues of the independence of the CBI, selection and removal process and removing the reference to the setting up of the Lokayuktas in the states.
“If the government would have accepted the amendments regarding the CBI and the selection process, the Bill would have won the vote in the Upper House,” Arvind Kejriwal said.
He alleged that the government “conspired” with Lalu Prasad to jeopardise the Bill.
“The TV channels had reported earlier that RJD members will create a ruckus and drag the proceedings till midnight so that the business would not be carried out. The script of what transpired in Rajya Sabha was written outside the House. It is a clear case of match fixing in Parliament,” he said.
Kejriwal said the proceedings of the last three days in Parliament have brought to the fore some critical deficiencies in the working of democracy in India.
“It demonstrated how Indian democracy and Parliament are held hostage by the ruling party,” he added.
Shanti Bhushan, a former law minister and senior Team Anna member, said the Rajya Sabha chairman could have extended the session. “The claim that the session could not go beyond midnight is hollow. The session could have been extended,” he said.
“Being the chair of the House, he should have done what the majority wanted,” he said.
Prashant Bhushan said the episode showed that the government has contempt not only for the people but for Parliament.
“People were hired to disturb the proceedings, to tear the Bill and then ensure that everybody goes home (without passing the Bill),” he claimed.