Congress keen on bringing SP on board on Lokpal issue

Rahul Gandhi is very keen on early passage of the Lokpal Bill which seeks to create an anti-corruption watchdog, Congress leaders said today in the backdrop of Anna Hazare`s fast and AAP making it an issue.

PTI| Updated: Dec 13, 2013, 22:28 PM IST

New Delhi: Rahul Gandhi is very keen on early passage of the Lokpal Bill which seeks to create an anti-corruption watchdog, Congress leaders said today in the backdrop of Anna Hazare`s fast and AAP making it an issue.

Floor managers of the ruling party said the next two days will be utilised to bring on board Samajwadi Party, which has been thwarting attempts for consideration of the bill in an amended form in the Rajya Sabha.

SP, an outside supporter of the UPA government, disrupted proceedings of the House repeatedly today demanding a discussion on price rise before the Lokpal Bill is taken up.

Congress leaders were silent on the possible course of action for the passage of the bill in the event of Mulayam Singh Yadav`s party refusing to play ball.

A party general secretary refused knowledge when asked whether Congress floor managers would press for use of marshalls against unruly members to ensure passage of the bill.
Marshalls were used in Rajya Sabha in March 2010 when the Women`s Reservation Bill was passed. Meanwhile, in fresh trouble for the government, main Opposition BJP expressed disagreement on four points, including independence of CBI and keeping even organisations, except religious institutions, not funded by the government within the ambit of the ombudsman.
Independence of CBI continues to be a sparring point between BJP and the UPA regime. BJP leader Arun Jaitley had proposed to the Select Committee that the transfer of CBI officials probing cases referred by the Lokpal to the agency should only be transferred with concurrence of the Lokpal.

BJP is also against the provision that before a preliminary inquiry is initiated against an official facing charges, the Lokpal should give him a hearing.

Jaitley also insisted that not only religious institutions but other bodies which have "nothing to do with the government or instrumentality of the state" should be exempted from the jurisdiction of Lokpal.

"There cannot be a provision for a religion based reservation in the matter of jurisdiction of Lokpal," he said and insisted that the Select Committee`s view be adopted by the government.

The Lokpal Bill was passed in the 4th Lok Sabha in 1969, but did not pass through the Rajya Sabha. Subsequently, Lokpal bill was introduced in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1989, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2005 and in 2008. The bill was revived several times in subsequent years, including in 2011.