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Sibal says BJP doesn't want Lokpal Bill

December 27, 2011 - New Delhi

Leading the Central Government's defence of the Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of not being keen on getting the Lokpal Bill passed.

"It is a political conspiracy. The BJP does not want the Lokpal Bill to be cleared," Sibal said.

Sibal further said, "If the Bill is passed, it will be a historical moment, but if it is delayed, people won't forgive the ones interrupting."

"If you do not let this Bill pass, the nation will never forgive you," Sibal said.

"What we are discussing today- this has something to do with 'Bhrashtachaar'. So this particular legislation has nothing to do with state public services, it has everything to do with corruption. That is why it is not an attack on federal principles,"he added.

Responding to Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj's objections that the Bill violated the federal structure, Sibal quoted Article 252 of the Constitution saying that it talks of criminality and criminal charges and not of corruption.

Earlier, asserting that Lokpal Bill has a lot of flaws, Swaraj said it seems that the government has introduced the Bill in anger.

She said that Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy initiated the Lokpal debate in a combative mode.

Emphasising that the Bill is meant to provide an enabling framework, Swaraj said government now says we make it mandatory because states like Gujarat have failed to create effective Lokayuktas.

"You (government) are contradicting yourself. So why don't you first decide what you want? Is it mandatory or optional? 18 states have Lokayuktas. Many of them have better Bills than the ones you have brought. Like Uttarakhand. Your Bill will over-ride those. Better ones like the Bill that Karnataka passed long ago," she added.

Stating that BJP has strong objections on the reservation provisions in the Bill, Swaraj said: "There are nine members in Lokpal with the chairman. If you say not less than 50 percent reservation then it means it can go up to any percentage. This is against the recommendation of the Standing Committee. It says such reservations cannot and ought not be provided."

Slamming the minority quota in Lokpal Bill, Swaraj said: "It is a pride of India that three to four presidents of India were from minority community of the 11 presidents who assumed the position so far and that occurred without any reservation.

"Even the Prime Minister of India is from the minority community. All top judges of Supreme court were from minority community. This is India's pride."


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