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Govt gives temporary burial to Lokpal bill

Govt gives temporary burial to Lokpal bill
With the budget session of Parliament ending on Tuesday, it is clear now that the Lokpal bill will not be passed in this session. The bill now has been referred to the Select Committee of Rajya Sabha, and thus further delaying setting up of the anti-graft ombudsman.

The bill came up in the Rajya Sabha on Monday and with Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, V Narayanasamy, moving it for consideration and passage. The Lokpal bill was last debated in December last year, on the last day of an extended winter session. However the bill could not be passed in the winter session.

The move to refer the bill to select committee was objected by opposition members as the motion for referring the bill to the select committee was moved initially by Samajwadi Party member Naresh Agrawal. Members from Bharatiya Janata Party, Left parties and BSP, argued that only the minister concerned could move such a motion. 'If they want a select committee, let the government say it but not play games' said leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley.

Under pressure from the opposition Narayanswamy was forced to change the motion from one seeking that the House pass the Bill, to one that sought its consent to move it to a select committee. A 15-member committee would have to submit its report by the first day of the last week of Monsoon Session. While moving the bill, the Minister said differences on it had been narrowed down after consultations with various parties.

Attacking the government Jaitley said, 'I urge the Prime Minister and the Government to be upfront and forthright and say do we want a Lokpal or we don't'. The leader of opposition further questioned the government's intentions in bringing the Bill a day before the session ends, even when it had enough time to consult the opposition. 'We have given our views formally at the all-party meeting and even informally,' said Jaitley.
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