Govt wants Anna to hold back stir

Team Anna questioned the credibility of its report, claiming only 12 of the 30 MPs supported its proposals, even as government asked the activists to hold back any agitation till the bill is passed.

Updated: Dec 09, 2011, 19:10 PM IST

New Delhi: Accusing the
Parliamentary panel on Lokpal of fooling people, Team Anna
on Friday questioned the credibility of its report, claiming only
12 of the 30 MPs supported its proposals, even as government
asked the activists to hold back any agitation till the bill
is passed.

Anna Hazare, who has threatened to go on a day-long
agitation at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday, alleged that
the proposals will not help in fighting graft and repeated his
charge that Rahul Gandhi was behind the watered down
recommendations.

Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal wondered about the
credibility of a report supported by "Lalu Prasad, Amar Singh
and rest from Mayawati`s BSP".

"The issues remain the same. This means the Parliamentary
Standing Committee has fooled the public. Their report does
not help in fighting corruption," Hazare told reporters in
Ralegan Siddhi.

Kejriwal said in New Delhi, "Standing Committee had 30
members. Two never attended. Sixteen dissented. So this report
is supported by balance 12. Seven are from Congress, Lalu
Prasad Yadav, Amar Singh and rest from Mayawati`s BSP. So much
for credibility of this report."

However, panel chairman Abishek Singhvi had earlier said
that the a dissent note by an MP does not mean that he or she
is against the entire report and they may be expressing their
reservations against one or more points.

Appealing to Hazare not to go ahead with his fast on
Sunday in protest against exclusion of his key demands like
bringing lower bureaucracy under Lokpal, Parliamentary Affairs
Minister Pawan Bansal said, "They should all wait for a
decision in Parliament. People can give their views and
Parliament takes the decision."

In reply to a question on Hazare`s agitation and Team
Anna`s attack on the Standing Committee`s report on Lokpal
Bill, Bansal said, "it amuses and bemuses me that discussions
will be held in Jantar Mantar."

Singhvi and Law Minister Salman Khurshid sought to allay
apprehensions that making it a consitutional body would delay
its passage and maintained that the process can be completed
in a single day.

The talk in government circles is that the Bill could
come up for discussion at a meeting of the Union Cabinet
likely on December 14 and it would be brought for
consideration on December 19.

Khurshid defended the move to give Constitutional status
to Lokpal, saying it gives special guarantee of authority and
integrity to an institution and that Rahul Gandhi`s aspiration
and determination is that it should be no less than the
Constitutional institutions.

"Those who don`t want Constitutional status must explain
to the government and to people why they don`t want it? My
impression is in this country people seek Constitutional
status as a special guarantee of the authority and integrity
of an institution," he said.

To Hazare`s accusations that the Government has not
fulfilled its promises with regard to the `Sense of the House`
resolution adopted in Parliament in August, he said, "People
who are inside the House will understand the sense better than
those who are outside."

The panel report states that it is "inconceivable that
while parties are in favour of the institution of Lokpal in
principle, as a statutory body, parties would not agree with
equal alacrity for the passage of a Constitutional amendment
bill".

Singhvi said the proposed amendment bill to grant
constitutional status will not have more than seven
paragraphs.

Reacting to Team Anna`s criticism, he said the panel
could not put a rubber stamp on any of the proposals and has
to take decisions based on its perceptions. "If we have to be
rubber stamps, then Standing Committees should be abolished."

PTI