Rajya Sabha to debate Lokpal Bill tomorrow, Anna-Kejriwal standoff continues

At one time anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal both were united over the Lokpal Bill, but today they are divided over it.

Zee Media Bureau/Himanshu Kapoor

New Delhi: At one time anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and Aam Aadmi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal both were united over the Lokpal Bill, but today they stand divided by it. And the rift between them is now out in the open. The standoff on Sunday worsened as the AAP leader expressed his disappointment with his one-time mentor for supporting the government’s weak bill, which is set to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Monday.

While Anna, who has been sitting on a hunger strike for the past five days for the passage of the bill, is supporting the anti-graft bill, AAP is still maintaining the stand that the bill in its current form is a ‘jokepal’ bill. Kejriwal said that such a weak bill will not be able to send mouse to jail and expressed unhappiness over Anna’s support for the current form of the Lokpal Bill.

Slamming the bill, Kejriwal pointed that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has not been made independent, and without doing so there would not be a single conviction in corruption cases. "What is the point of passing this Lokpal bill, it will not stop corruption at all," he said, adding it would only "protect the corrupt". Kejriwal said that Anna is being misled on the issue, while Team Anna member Kiran Bedi countered asking Kejriwal to read the bill properly before objecting to it.

Bedi also refuted Kejriwal’s claims of the Aam Aadmi Party convener saying, “Lokpal is certainly not a Jokepal! Those who term it this way perhaps want to keep the issue alive and not want it get started against corruption."

Bedi, who is also sharing stage with Hazare, said that the imperfection in the Lokpal Bill can be done away during its operation and added that the country needs a start as people are waiting for the bill for a longtime. On Kejriwal`s take that Anna Hazare is being misguided about the amended Lokpal Bill, Bedi slammed the AAP chief and said that Kejriwal is misguiding people.

Meanwhile, the passing of the bill has now become a three-way fight with Congress saying that the party wants to pass it and the BJP hitting out at Congress for taking credit for the Lokpal Bill. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi dismissed reports that said that the Congress’s sudden urgency to pass the bill was the direct result of the recent poll debacle, and said that the party had been trying to bring up the bill for sometime now.
While BJP leader and leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said that the party is committed to passing the bill in din if the government can manage its allies. Sushma Swaraj had yesterday said that the BJP is prepared to pass the bill in Parliament without discussion.
Now, with most of the parties have publicly backing the bill, all eyes will be on the last session of the Lok Sabha where there are hopes of the passage of the Lokpal Bill.