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Corruption has become way of life: Jaitley

The massive support for Anna Hazare is a "loud and clear" message that people are unhappy with the present dispensation, opposition leader Arun Jaitley said on Saturday.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The massive support for Anna Hazare is a "loud and clear" message that people are unhappy with the present dispensation, opposition leader Arun Jaitley said on Saturday.

As the Rajya Sabha took up the debate on the Lokpal Bill, Jaitley said: "The message is loud and clear, people are not ready to accept the present status quo.”

"Corruption in many areas has become a way of life."

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said the "upper sections of the society bend the rules and indulge in corruption, while the common people suffer”.

"There are low areas of society where the average man has to confront corruption as a way of life," he said.

He said some "not so complementary statements" were being made about Parliament and MPs. He urged fellow members not to pay attention to them.

"Time has now come to raise the bar of accountability in India. Existing structures have not succeeded. They have not responded to the enormity of the situation," he said.

The upper house took up the debate at noon, an hour after the Lok Sabha begun the debate to resolve the logjam over a Lokpal Bill following a fast by Hazare that entered the 12th day on Saturday.

The BJP on Saturday said it found considerable merit in three contentious issues raised by Team Anna, including covering the entire bureaucracy and Citizens` Charter for public grievances under Lokpal and favoured Lokayuktas in the states.

However, it said inclusion of Prime Minister under Lokpal should be with the exception of certain areas like national security.

These views were forcefully expressed by Arun Jaitley, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha during debate on the Lokpal issue in the House.

Besides, the party was against the phone-tapping powers to be given to any institution, except in matters of national security. Jaitley said it was conveyed to Team Anna when they met the party leaders.

Jaitley found "greater merit" in having a Citizens` Charter for redressal of grievances of the common man. He said several state governments have already started work in this area.

On the demand of the Anna Hazare-led civil society for having the entire bureaucracy under the Lokpal, he said there is considerable merit in it. "All public servants must be made accountable... When we are including the Prime Minister (in the Lokpal)..."

Responding to a specific enquiry by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee whether there can be a central law for Lokayuktas in the states, Jaitley, an eminent lawyer, said there can be enabling laws. While there is merit in this, Lokayuktas should not be appointed by the Centre.

Jaitley said, "We have heard some not-so-complimentary statements against MPs" and urged members to show maturity without getting provoked.

(With Agencies` inputs)

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