Lokpal Bill: Pranab slams BJP and civil society members

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Pranab Mukherjee
New Delhi, Jun 12: Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee in a press conference on Jun 12, questioned team Anna and BJP over anti-corruption bill.

Pranab Mukherjee also blamed the BJP and civil society members for weakening democratic institutions.

"Few things are very clear that since 2009 few parties are conspiring to subvert the parliamentary system of democracy where elections are very important. The BJP had taken a decision that parliament sessions would have to be disrupted which was clear since JPC fiasco. PAC has taken on JPC - we had anticipated that. It is two parliamentary committees that are confronting each other" said Mukherjee.

Mukherjee said that the party was against the people's panel's demands of video-taping the whole procedure. However the audio recordings of the panel meetings will be available at the DoPT site, he said.

"This is not a circus, it's a serious matter. They wanted the meetings to be video-graphed. We said no because either way the government will publish audio recordings of each of the meetings on DoPT website at the end of the drafting meeting," said Mukherjee. "We will try to introduce lokpal bill in the next monsoon session," said the finance minister.

Pranab hit out on Anna Hazre by saying that Hazare threatened that the government should draft the bill soon.

"Today we are being threatened that by Jun15 the bill needs to be drafted. It is parliament's right to decide on bills and legislations. I will dictate terms (Anna) will it weaken or subvert democracy-that's the big questions," said Mukerjee.

"No one can guarantee if the Parliament will pass the bill even though we will Introduce it monsoon session. They want (Article 5 ) to be invoked which prevents MPs from speaking but MPs have that right and will always have the right," added Mukherjee.

He also said that Congress met Baba Ramdev because the party wanted people to know that 'this government listens.'

Meanwhile Arvind Kejriwal, Rights Activist expressed his unhappiness by saying that the government was not being transparent.

The Lokpal Bill has attracted national attention. A group of freedom fighters earlier said that they will write to social activist Anna Hazare asking him not to "push too hard" on the bill by threatening to go on another fast for enacting the legislation and called Baba Ramdev a "businessman" and his satyagraha  a "Bollywood movie" in which he wanted to create a show and not agitate against corruption.

I-T giant Infosys' outgoing chief Narayana Murthy favoured the PM and supported the stand of the civil society members in Lokpal panel when the entire nation was busy in criticising the government's demand not to include the Prime Minister and Chief Justice within Lokpal's ambit.

The Lokpal Bill had gone through some challenging times with the Bill being introduced in the Parliament for close to seven times but never passed. With the first attempt for the passing of the Bill way back in 1963, subsequent attempts were made to include the PM under the Bill during 1977, 1989 and 1998.

OneIndia News

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