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Gloomy day on the cards for government Lokpal bill

Last updated on: December 28, 2011 11:50 IST

Gloomy day on the cards for government Lokpal bill

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The United Progressive Alliance government on Wednesday expressed hope that it will be able to introduce the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha this afternoon.

 

"Hopefully, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 will be tabled in Rajya Sabha this afternoon," Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal told media persons in New Delhi. The Lokpal Bill was passed by Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

 

He said, "One thing is certain, it cannot be taken up unless Rajya Sabha decides to sit late like we did in Lok Sabha. Then only perhaps it could be passed today. Otherwise it will be passed tomorrow (on Thursday), but it will be taken up for consideration today."

 

Earlier, Union Minister V Narayanasamy had said that the Lokpal Bill is unlikely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Lokpal Bill will have to get presidential assent in the wake of amendments made to it in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday and it can be tabled in the Rajya Sabha after that, he said.

 

After getting the President's clearance, even if the Bill is tabled today in Rajya Sabha, it will be very late, he said.


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Gloomy day on the cards for government Lokpal bill

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The absence of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal members, which resulted in the defeat of the Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, had raised questions over the fate of Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha.

In the Upper House of Parliament, where the Lokpal Bill is likely to be taken up on Wednesday, the Congress does not have majority on its own or with its allies in the UPA. In the 245-member House, the Congress and its allies Nationalist Congress Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Trinamool Congress, Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal together have 93 members.

Parties supporting the government from outside -- BSP (18), SP (5) and RJD (4) -- account for 27 crucial votes.

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Gloomy day on the cards for government Lokpal bill

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These three parties had walked out of the Lok Sabha before voting on the Lokpal Bill tonight but their absence did not matter much because the bill required only a simple majority and it was passed by a voice vote.

 

But the absence of 42 MPs from these three parties in the Lok Sabha spelt disaster for the government in the Constitutional Amendment Bill, which required a special majority for passage.

 

If the three parties absent themselves during voting in the Rajya Sabha, then the government has a lot to worry.

The BJP, which had also raised a number of objections to the Lokpal bill, was to some extent mollified because the government came out with official amendments like giving option to states to set up a Lokayukta, changing the requirement of three-fourth members to clear investigation against Prime Minister to two-third and to protect the powers of Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman in regard to MPs.

 

However, BJP leaders said they would review their position on Wednesday morning with the party still having strong reservation over the provision for quota for minorities in the Lokpal structure and control of Lokpal over the Central Bureau of Investigation.

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