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Lokpal Bill runs into trouble over minority exclusion

Last updated on: December 22, 2011 13:52 IST

Lokpal Bill runs into trouble over minority exclusion

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The new Lokpal Bill was on Thursday at the centre of a fresh controversy before its introduction in the Lok Sabha, with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen members protesting exclusion of minorities from the anti-graft bench of the proposed ombudsman.

 

RJD chief Lalu Prasad raised the issue during Zero Hour alleging that minorities had been kept out "under pressure" from RSS-BJP.

 

"The Congress and RSS-BJP are hand in glove. That is why there has been a delay in circulating the Bill. We will not accept it. It is incomplete. Amend it and then introduce the Bill," Prasad said.

 

While reading out contents of the Bill which has been circulated among MPs, Prasad accused the government of being scared of the BJP.

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Speaker Meira Kumar objected to his reading out from the Bill, pointing out that it was yet to be introduced.

As he was protesting against the government's move, Prasad was joined by members of SP, BSP and AIMIM in creating an uproar. Two SP members also moved into the Well but returned to their seats after the Speaker asked them to go back.

In the melee Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay was seen talking to NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar apparently on the legislation.

 

After Kumar's request for order failed, she adjourned the House till 2 pm.

 

The RJD leader said there was a "conspiracy" to keep Muslims out of the measure "on the pretext of printing (mistake). We verified it."

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Lokpal Bill runs into trouble over minority exclusion

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He was referring to a provision in the Bill which provides for 50 per cent quota for SCs, STs, OBCs and women. Initially, the revised bill had the mention of minorities but it was later reportedly deleted.

Though the withdrawal of the original Lokpal Bill was part of Thursday's business in the House, tabling of the new legislation was not mentioned.

The RJD chief also took objection to the contents of the new legislation appearing on TV channels even before it was circulated among MPs. "This is a matter of privilege of the

House," he said.

Earlier, after papers were laid, the Speaker called Arjun Ram Meghwal (BJP) to speak on the Constitution amendment bill to make the right to form cooperatives a fundamental right.

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As the papers were being laid, Lok Sabha Secretariat staff was seen circulating the Lokpal Bill among members.

When Meghwal was speaking, Prasad rose and insisted that he be allowed to speak first on the Lokpal issue contending that the discussion on the bill would continue for another two hours.

 

He got support from SP members, including Shailendra Kumar, who trooped to the Well insisting that the Speaker defer the discussion cooperative bill. Prasad also came into the Well and BSP members joined him, some of them shouting slogans protesting the exclusion of minorities.

 

Prasad was seen showing some portions of the Lokpal Bill to UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and seen pressing on some issue.


Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal walked up to Prasad and tried to pacify him, but the move backfired as the RJD chief got more agitated.

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