Jan Lokpal Bill: Need serious consideration on Anna’s three conditions, says Pranab
Observing that the nation was at “cross-roads” in view of Anna Hazare’s campaign, government today asked Parliament to consider the Gandhian‘s three key demands on Lokpal Bill within Constitutional framework and by preserving Parliament’s supremacy.
Making identical statements in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to form the basis for a debate, Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee said the issues raised by Hazare are “important” and “genuine” which “deserve our serious consideration”.
As Hazare’s fast entered 12th day, Mukherjee said the situation was “moving out of hand” and “crisis” had been created as he asked lawmakers to “seize the moment and demonstrate the commitment” in dealing with corruption which is “gnawing at the vitals of our polity”.
He said Parliament needed to discuss (i) whether the jurisdiction of the Lokpal should cover all employees of the Central government, (ii) whether it will be applicable through the institution of the Lok Ayukt in all states, and (iii) whether the Lokpal should have the power to punish all those who violate the ‘grievance redressal mechanism’ to be put in place.
These are the aspects that Hazare and his team are demanding to be included in the Lokpal Bill.
“In case a consensus emerges at the end of the discussions, the Standing Committee will, in the course of their deliberations, take into account their practicability, implementability and constitutionality.
“For, everything that we do, must be consistent with the principles enshrined within our Constitutional framework,” Mukherjee said.
Mukherjee wanted Lok Sabha to consider whether Lokpal should have power to punish those who violate ‘grievance redressal mechanism’.
“The standing committee can take up their practicality, constitutionality and implementability,” Mukherjee said.
In the Rajya Sabha, Pranab said that the issues on which Hazare is agitating are genuine. Mukherjee said situation created by Hazare’s agitation is “moving out of hand” and crisis has been created.
Team Anna and the government held another round of talks here today to end the deadlock over the Lokpal Bill prior to the debate on the issue in Parliament.
“Only thing that has been discussed is what will come up before Parliament…we have already give Anna’s letter to him,” Patkar told reporters after the meeting.
Noting that dialogue between both sides was on, she said Hazare and his team have not gone back on their three key demands — all civil servants should be brought under Lokpal, a Citizen Charter should be displayed at all government offices and all states should have Lokayuktas.
“We are still on the same three points, which really matters. The government is responding. Now it is not only the government, it is also the opposition parties. All are positive about the process,” she said.
She said every MP is concerned about Anna’s health. The agitation will continue as has been made clear by Anna. There is no question of ending the protest, she added.
Fasting Anna Hazare today broke his silence of nearly 38 hours and addressed his supporters declaring that he will continue his protest till his last breath for a strong anti-corruption law.
Amid mounting worries over the 74-year-old Gandhian’s health, Hazare said he could fast for another “three-four days” and “nothing will happen to him”.
Hazare, who did not address his supporters since 8 pm on August 25, emerged on the dais at around 10 am to a loud cheer from supporters who raised slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Inquilab Zindabad’.
“I am not doing this for my personal gain. If it was so, I would not have lasted five days. Till Jan Lokpal Bill is passed, my protest will continue,” the Gandhian told his supporters at Ramlila Maidan where he is sitting on a fast.
He said he was getting energy from those who are coming out in support of the cause and this energy will help him sustain for three-four more days. “Till Jan Lokpal Bill is passed, I won’t die,” he said in his speech that lasted for five minutes.
Hazare said he was surprised at the manner in which the country has responded to his call while referring to a person who was sporting a tattoo on his shoulder that stated that he was the supporter of the Gandhian.
“I am surprised that a ‘fakir’ is getting this support. It is not me who is doing all this. God has pointed fingers at me. He has chosen me to do the work. It is he who is doing all this. I am praised for what I am doing. A ‘fakir’ should not be praised so much,” he said.
COURTESY: THE ECONOMIC TIMES
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