House session ending in stalemate, govt and Opposition stick to stand on Lokpal

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 31 2011, 09:22am hrs
A day after Parliament was adjourned sine die, without voting on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011, both the government and the Opposition went into an overdrive to stick to their positions. The Opposition BJP called for the resignation of the government on the what it termed as the fear of this government of facing a vote, while the government fielded senior ministers to pillory the Opposition's role in stalling the Bill by sending in 187 amendments to the Bill.

The government has lost a majority in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. This government should quit and hold fresh elections, BJP leader and leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.

Terming Thursdays events as unfortunate, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley said, that it was an act of political suicide with respect to the government's own credibility. A government which runs away from voting, has no political or moral right to stay in power, he said. Charging the government with orchestrating the events yesterday to avoid voting on the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha, Jaitley said, that the government created disturbance with the help of a friendly party to run away from vote. If the government shies away from voting on amendments it does not want, it is a sad day for Parliamentary democracy." Swaraj went a step further and said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee were not only aware of the conspiracy, but actively colluded in it.

Jaitley said there were only three major amendments sought by the BJP in common with other opposition and regional parties, and the session could have been extended to allow voting on the Bill. He also cast aspersions on the competency of parliamentary affairs department and found the statement of Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal curious that it needed time to work on the 187-odd amendments sought in the Bill. He said that the three basic amendments pertaining to the integrity of the federal structure, the role of the CBI and the requirement of Lokpal to file the chargesheet, could have been brought in if we had a more competent parliamentary affairs department.

The government defended its actions through a briefing by both minister for parliamentary affairs Pawan Bansal and by home minister P Chidambaram and information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni.

By no stretch of imagination could the government have gone through 187 amendments on a single day and asked for a vote, said Chidambaram. The ministers also addressed the elephant in the room the Trinamool Congress' demand that clauses 63-94 pertaining to the setting up of state lokayukta's be completed deleted from the Bill and their determination to vote against the government to get their way.