Committed to passage of Lokpal Bill: PM, Sonia

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Nov 4: Amid reports that the much talked about Lokpal Bill will be brought in the Winter session, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday said they are committed to the measure.

AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who was the first speaker at the Congress rally, rued that though Congress brought the bill before Parliament, the Opposition ensured its non-passage in the Rajya Sabha.

"But we will again bring it and ensure the passage of that bill," Rahul said.

The Prime Minister and the Congress chief also spoke of plans to bring forward the measure to fight graft. Gandhi attacked BJP for blocking the passage of the bill.

She said that the UPA government brought the Lokpal bill to fight corruption but the "BJP did not allow its passage in the Rajya Sabha. But our struggle to get it passed will continue and I hope we would be successful in it".

Singh while highlighting the need to fight corruption said Parliament is considering the Lokpal Bill.

The Lokpal bill has been passed by the Lok Sabha but could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha due to stiff opposition from the BJP and some parties to some of its provisions.

Reports had it that Government planned to drop the contentious clause relating to setting up Lokayuktas in the states from the Lokpal bill and try to get it passed in the Winter Session of Parliament beginning Nov 22.

The rationale is that deleting the clause would help the government secure the support of UPA allies like the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party and constituents of the Opposition NDA in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling coalition is in a minority.

Backing the economic reforms unveiled by the government, Gandhi said some difficult decisions had to be taken to deal with the impact of global financial situation.

"I know it very well that the common man, particularly the poor, have to bear the burden of price rise. I understand it fully well. It is our endeavour to make efforts to remove the difficulties faced by you," she said.

But, she said, the reality is that the country has to import 80 per cent of its requirement of oil. The international oil prices have increased four-fold in the past decade.

"We were forced to take some harsh decisions in this backdrop," Gandhi said, adding that the government still continued to give subsidy on urea, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas.

"Despite these economic pressures, the government has not raised the prices of wheat and rice made available through fair price shops. We are also making efforts to enact a National Food Security Act," she said.

Gandhi said these measures are a testimony to the sensitivity towards the common man shown by the Congress and the UPA government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In an apparent reference to charges levelled by India Against Corruption, Gandhi said, "nowadays, there is a storm created by some kind of news reports. Various allegations are made against the government and the party."

"There is a need to discern the truth and untruth of these charges," she said.


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