Delhi: The government on Tuesday categorically rejected the Opposition’s charge of presenting a weak Lokpal Bill, saying the latter wants to block the anti-graft legislation for political gains.
Taking part in the Lokpal debate in Lok Sabha, Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said,” The BJP`s charge of infringing on federal powers is wrong -- this has to do with bhrashtachar (corruption).”
Replying to Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj’s charge that the Lokpal Bill was placed by the government in a fit of rage, Sibal said, “People would not forgive the Opposition if the Lokpal bill is not passed.
Sibal also quoted the provision in the Lokpal bill that allows the government to notify different sections of the law on different states and says the Parliament has every right to bring a bill under Article 253. “The Article 253 directly relates to implementation of the Lokpal Bill in states, it cannot be brought under 252 as BJP wants,” he said.
“The objections raised by Swaraj on Article 252 are an escape clause being used by the BJP to block the passage of the Lokpal Bill.”
Suspecting a conspiracy on part of the main Opposition party, the Telecom Minister said, “There seems to be a deeper conspiracy by the BJP not to allow an effective and strong Lokpal.”
Continuing his attack on the BJP, Sibal said, “It seems that the main Opposition party wants to save its chief ministers from being monitored by a strong Lokauykta.”
Amid continued uproar, Sibal said that the concerns raised by the Opposition leader on various provisions are unfounded and have no basis.
He even asked why BJP wanted the Lokpal Bill to be withdrawn when the Parliament agreed in principal in a Sense of the House to introduce the Citizen’s Charter, inclusion of lower bureaucracy and appointment of Lokayukta on August 27.
Asking the BJP to end its double speak and fight graft in those states where it is in power, Sibal said, “The main opposition party has an aggressive anti-corruption line but it embraces the same it its own states.”
Countering BJP’s charges on government’s move to provide reservation to minorities, Sibal said, “BJP has colluded with Anna Hazare and is back-supporting his movement. Outside it says we want a strong Lokpal Bill and inside the Parliament it terms the government version as unconstitutional.”
Citing several cases of corruption unearthed in BJP-ruled Karnataka, Sibal said, “The real face of the BJP is that they have double standards in whatever they do as they have tried to protect its former chief minister BS Yedyurappa.”
“The BJP has been lecturing people on autonomy, but has Gujarat had a Lokpal? No, it hasn`t, not in the last nine years,” said Sibal.
Sibal said the BJP basically had nothing to offer in terms of building a stronger Lokpal, they just wanted to foster their political aspirations.
Sibal, however, could not go beyond saying, "madam, madam, madam", in quick succession, as Swaraj interrupted him. Sibal said the government bill dealt with graft, and the Parliament did have the powers to deal with it.
Asking the BJP not to doubt the UPA government’s intention, Sibal cautioned, “There will be more trouble if a strong and effective anti-graft legislation is not passed soon.”
Undeterred by continuous interruption from the Opposition benches, the Telecom Minister said, “The government has time and again reiterated its commitment to bring a strong Lokpal Bill. We have done our job and we do not want to bring an unconstitutional body.”
Throwing a direct challenge at the main opposition party, Sibal said, “If BJP is so serious in fighting corruption, can it make a statement that all states will have strong Lokayuktas in two months?
He even charged the BJP for targeting the Prime Minister for the past one year and trying to create more trouble for the UPA government through its false propaganda.
Assuring the House on the independence of the CBI, Sibal said, “The Government will do everything to ensure the independence of the probe agency and appoint other officials to assist its director.
Sibal also slammed BJP that its stand on CBI differs as it depends on its own positioning in the Parliament. “They will misuse it when they are in power but will cry foul about it when they are in Opposition.”
Sibal concluded by saying that the UPA government would budge a single inch from its stand on the issue of Lokpal and asked the opposition parties to rise above party politics and pave way for the passage of a strong anti-graft legislation.
As chaos and ruckus continued during the debate, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till 3pm.