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Rajya Sabha debacle: Day after, blame game takes over

Both sides agree that the drama in the Rajya Sabha that put the Lokpal bill into cold storage on Thursday night was ‘orchestrated’.

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Both sides agree that the drama in the Rajya Sabha that put the Lokpal bill into cold storage on Thursday night was ‘orchestrated’.

Quite naturally, they blame the other for it. So, the blame game began in right earnest within hours of the bill drowning under the burden of 187 proposed amendments from several parties, some received as late as at 6 pm.

Leading the four-member ministerial squad firing at the BJP was Pawan Bansal, the parliamentary affairs minister.

“The BJP made its first mistake by defeating the Constitutional amendment Bill on Day one, and now the second mistake by stalling the bill on Day three,” he said while making a case that ab initio the party was opposed to a Lokpal.

However, Bansal is still hopeful. “The good thing it that this bill isn’t over. It is not dead but alive and we will again bring it back in the RS when the session begins,” he said. Bansal also argued that there was no way the bill could have been passed in the extended period of the winter session, once the opposition moved amendments in the Rajya Sabha.  “The government needed time to examine the amendments suggested. After accepting them the bill would need to go back to Lok Sabha again. Hence, there was no way the bill could have been passed so early,” he stressed.

However, with fears arising that this bill too might go the Women’s Reservation Bill way, Bansal said: “We do not want the Bill to go that way.”

DNA had on December 21 reported that in the absence of political consensus the Lokpal Bill could give to company to the women’s quota bill that is in a state of limbo.

Both BJP and Congress also blamed each other for the loss of second day (December 28).

“The BJP first told us they wanted to take up the Whistleblowers Bill and discuss Lokpal after that. The papers related to the Bill were circulated accordingly. Later on at 4.45 pm they told us they would like to discuss Lokpal first and that can happen next day. So the Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned and we wasted one full day," said Azad.

The BJP, on the other hand, said they waited whole day for the Bill to come but the government did not show any interest. “We had come prepared to discuss the Lokpal Bill but the government was not listing the Bill at all," said BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

Demanding Manmohan Singh’s resignation over what the BJP called, “fraud on democracy” and the UPA Government’s “inability to defend itself” in the Rajya Sabha.

In a statement on Friday, the CPI(M) politburo too said, the UPA Government was solely responsible for the failure.

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