Lucknow: BJP on Friday spurned Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee`s request for inputs on the proposed Lokpal
Bill, arguing it would not be proper for a political party to
submit its views to a drafting committee comprising civil
society members as it would upset constitutional propriety.
"Expecting political parties to give their views to a
drafting committee comprising civil society representatives
for acceptance or otherwise would be upsetting constitutional
propriety where parties, parliamentarians and Parliament have
the last word.
"They are the decision-makers and not suggestion givers,"
BJP President Nitin Gadkari said.
Mukherjee had written a letter on May 31 to the BJP, other
political parties and chief ministers seeking their opinion on
the proposed bill.
There are reportedly several differences between the civil
society representatives headed by social activist and Gandhian
Anna Hazare, and the government panel headed by Mukherjee.
Gadkari has suggested in his reply that BJP can be
consulted before the bill is introduced in Parliament.
"In case there is a divergence of opinion between members
of the drafting committee, the final proposals carrying both
view points can be sent to us for our opinion at that stage.
It would not be proper for parties and parliamentarians to
start submitting their opinions to others for acceptance or
rejection," he said.
BJP said the government was reaching out to the opposition
only now and given less than a week to the parties to send
their suggestions. It also conveyed its resentment at being
ignored when the drafting process began despite it being the
Gadkari said, "At no stage has the government thought it
necessary to consult either the BJP or any other political
party in regard to several issues involved in the context of
setting up of an independent Lokpal."
The main opposition party has taken dig at the government
for the apparent differences between the civil society and
government members on the provisions of the proposed
legislation and on who all should be brought under its ambit.
The BJP, however, clarified that it was all for an
effective Lokpal Bill to check corruption.
"The Bill for setting up of the institution of Lokpal to
curb corruption in high places is an important landmark
proposal. The BJP is committed to the creation of an
independent Lokpal," the party said.
Though Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj
has said the Prime Minister should come within the purview of
the Lokpal and stated that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee had expressed willingness to be monitored by an
ombudsman, BJP sources said the party is wary of such a
Briefing reporters later, BJP chief spokesman Ravi Shanker
Prasad said while demanding an independent mechanism to deal
with the appointment of a Lokpal, the party advocated setting
up a national commission to deal with appointment of the
Supreme Court and High Court judges.
Giving highlights of Gadkari`s inaugural address to the
party`s national executive meet here, Prasad said the party
chief suggested a five-point plan to eradicate corruption.
"The national president has said that an independent
mechanism should be set up to deal with the appointment of
Lokpal to handle corruption cases," he said.