Lokpal Bill a farce; will divide India again: BJP
New Delhi: Leading the BJP’s charge in Parliament on the issue of Lokpal Bill, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday that the bill being proposed by the government is ‘weak’ and termed the proposal to have minority quota akin to sowing seeds of India’s second partition.
Govt angry over Lokpal
Swaraj started the debate in Parliament after MoS in the PMO V Narayanasamy initiated the Lokpal debate in a combative mode. Swaraj said, “The aggressiveness with which the bill has been presented for debate it seems the government is angry over the bill.”
“When the bill has to be passed then ministers are humble but it seems he (Narayanasamy) wanted to fight…he was making a political speech,” she said, adding that “his bhaav and mudra was aggressive.”
Threat to federal structure
Further attacking the government on the issue of the Lokayuktas, she said that the government has to first clear its own confusion as to what it wants.
“Our Parliament is based on certain fundamentals. The Supreme Court had said that the Parliament can change Constitution but can’t change the underlying principles,” she said.
“If you want to make it (Lokayukta Bill) a mandatory law then it will challenge the federal structure. Pranab Mukherjee and Kapil Sibal have said that Lokayukta law is optional but now Narayanasamy is saying that Lokyukta Bill is mandatory,” she said.
“18 states have Lokayukta and all that will become null and void if the bill is passed,” she pointed out.
Religious reservation will divide India again
On the issue of reservation in the nine-member Lokpal body, Sushma said, “We don’t have the provision of reservation in constitutional bodies. There is no way in which constitutional posts can be reserved, the government should know that.”
“They have not just brought in reservation over the upper limit of 50% but also brought in religion based reservation which is not allowed in the Constitution…this bill is not for jobs,” she stressed.
Amid loud protests by some MPs, she pointed out that out of the 12 Presidents of India, four have been from minorities. Out of the 11 Vice Presidents three have been from minorities, she added.
Sushma further said that many luminaries have occupied important posts in the judiciary and also mentioned Chief Election Commissioner SY Qureshi, a minority, as the custodian of the world’s biggest democracy.
However the din continued to which she said, “They have been selected not because they are minority but because they are able, but today what we are doing is not correct for the nation.”
“India was divided on the basis of religion after the bill was brought by the British that mandated reservation based on religion and what are we going to do?...Minority based reservation will sow the seeds of the second partition of India,” she added in a serious tone.
Challenging RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav for his pro-quota speech in Parliament, Sushma said,
“Laluji could not understand the government’s game, you pitched for minority in the morning and the government agreed to it by taking 4% out of 27% quota for OBCs…you are now seething within but can’t say anything.”
Govt’s stand a farce
On the issue of bringing PM under the ambit of Lokpal, the Leader of Opposition slammed the government and termed its stand as a farce.
“You want to bring PM under the Lokpal but have put in a condition that 3/4th majority vote to do so… Govt holds the key and wants to control the Lokpal,” she said, adding, “Government wants to be judge jury and prosecution.”
She also attacked the government draft on the issue of inclusion of MPs under the ambit of Lokpal by saying that the current bill is against the basics of the People’s Representation Act.
Accusing the government of speaking in two voices, Sushma reiterated the BJP’s demand that CBI should be brought out of government’s control and that there be a separate investigation and prosecution wing for CBI. She also accused the government of wanting to control the Lokpal.
Take back the bill
Summing up her and her party’s opposition to the Lokpal bill in the current format, Sushma said, “Take back this bill and bring it back after 2-3 months.”
She said that the bill will embarrass the PM and the nation. “We had wanted that Lokpal bill be brought but we didn’t want this bill. It will demolish even the existing system. We want a strong Lokpal.”
“Accept our amendments or withdraw the Bill...Send it
back to standing committee for further discussion," she said
while describing it as a "patently unconstitutional"
legislation which the Opposition will not "tolerate".
She also had a piece of advice for the government, “First make up your mind and then bring the bill.”
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