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Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha today

Friday, 13 December 2013 - 8:20am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA
Govt says the bill is priority, but BJP asserts it must be adopted with all the recommendations of select committee.

Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs V Narayanasamy will move the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha for consideration on Friday.  

Union parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath on Thursday said that the Lokpal Bill is a priority for the government.  

Earlier in the evening, union minister of water resources Harish Rawat said at the Congress media briefing that the Rajya Sabha chairman has set time for the debate on Lokpal Bill for Monday.

However, Kamal Nath later stressed that the bill would be table in the Upper House on Friday.
“Our priority is Lokpal Bill. The Lokpal Bill has to be taken up in the Rajya Sabha, and then it will come up in the Lok Sabha,” Nath said.

The Lok Sabha had passed the Lokpal Bill in December, 2011 but as the Rajya Sabha select committee has recommended amendments to the bill, the amended version will have been approved by the Lok Sabha.

Nath also dismissed suggestions that there was any plan to curtail the Winter session of Parliament. Asked about reports that the government is considering adjourning Parliament sine die by Friday, he said, “There is no plan at the moment to curtail the session. We have allocated time for other businesses and we have a list of priorities”.

Meanwhile, deputy leader of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told dna that though the Lokpal Bill has been listed on the business of the House for Friday, there is no guarantee that it would be taken up for discussion.

On Thursday afternoon, leaders of the opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley insisted that the Lokpal Bill should be adopted with the 15 amendments recommended by the select committee of the House. They said that the Bill should be adopted as it is even without a discussion because the Rajya Sabha had already discussed it on December 29, 2011.

The UPA government has accepted only 13 of the amendments and the BJP leaders argued that the government’s version was not acceptable to them.

Meanwhile, the Samajwadi Party made it clear that it would oppose the Bill in the Rajya Sabha while the JD(U) and NCP supported its early passage.

There is no question of supporting it, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said outside Parliament House. Asked repeatedly why his party is opposing the Bill, Yadav said, “This is hypothetical question. First let it come and then we will tell you.”

His colleague Naresh Agarwal, however, said that “the government has lost the trust of the people so it should not bring any bill in the House”.

Supporting the ant-corruption bill, JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said the party is in favour of setting up Lokpal.  “Anna has written to Nitish Kumar on Lokpal. We are in favour of an effective, transparent Lokpal. We will not oppose it but we will definitely give suggestion.” NCP leader DP Tripathy said, “We are for passing the Lokpal in the current session.”
—With agency inputs

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