Drop Lokayukta or we’ll vote against govt: TMC

The government faces a tough road ahead on passing the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Last Updated: Dec 29, 2011, 16:06 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Further hardening its stand, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Thursday threatened that its MPs will vote against the government if Part III of The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 which deals with setting up of Lokayuktas at state level is not deleted.

As per a media report, TMC has made its stand absolutely clear to the government that it will move amendment to delete the provision for setting up Lokayuktas at the state level.

Trinamool Congress has six members in the Rajya Sabha. The government is already short of numbers in the upper house and would find it very difficult to get the bill passed.

The bill passed by Lok Sabha two days ago has provisions for setting up of Lokayuktas in the states with the consent of state governments.

The TMC says that it is in favour of Lokayuktas but it should be done by states and not the Centre.

Importantly, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had met TMC leaders to sort out the issue but it appears that the ruling party in West Bengal is adamant on its stand that state autonomy is supreme.

The total strength of the house is 242 and halfway mark is 122. The UPA has 98 MPs and can hope for the support of eight nominated members, taking the total strength to 104 – which is short of majority.

In the eventuality of Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal walking out in protest – as they did in the Lok Sabha – then the reduced strength of the house would be 216 and 109 MPs would have to vote in favour to get the bill passed.

The Congress has been hoping on the support of independents to sail through but if the TMC votes against the bill, then the Lokpal Bill can’t get through the upper house.