Lokpal in danger in Rajya Sabha?

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Rajya Sabha
New Delhi, Dec 27: Absence of BSP, SP and RJD members, which resulted in the defeat of the Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, has raised questions over the fate of Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha. In the Upper House of Parliament, where the Lokpal Bill is likely to be taken up tomorrow, the Congress does not have majority on its own or with its allies in the UPA.

In the 245-member House, the Congress and its allies NCP, DMK, Trinamool Congress, LJP and RLD together have 93 members. Parties supporting the government from outside -- BSP (18), SP (5) and RJD (4) -- account for 27 crucial votes. These three parties had walked out of the Lok Sabha before voting on the Lokpal Bill tonight but their absence did not matter much because the bill required only a simple majority and it was passed by a voice vote.

But the absence of 42 MPs from these three parties in the Lok Sabha spelt disaster for the government in the Constitutional Amendment Bill which required a special majority for passage. If the three parties absent themselves during voting in the Rajya Sabha, then the government has a lot to worry.

The BJP which had also raised a number of objections to the Lokpal bill was to some extent mollified because the government came out with official amendments like giving option to states to set up a Lokayukta, changing the requirement of three-fourth members to clear investigation against Prime Minister to two-third and to protect the powers of Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman in regard to MPs.

However, BJP leaders said they would review their position tomorrow morning with the party still having strong reservation over the provision for quota for minorities in the Lokpal structure and control of Lokpal over CBI.

PTI

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