MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: With key UPA ally Trinamool Congress putting up a roadblock in the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the Centre on Saturday insisted it is keen on bringing in the anti-corruption law in the next session of Parliament and tried to woo the Mamata-led party.
Home Minister P Chidambaram said one or two amendments could be accepted to obtain Trinamool’s support for getting the Bill through in the Budget Session.
“In order to muster a majority in the Rajya Sabha, we may.... have to accept one or two amendments. It will be the same Bill with possibly one or two amendments...
We cannot accept 187 amendments, (then) it will be an unrecognizable Bill,” he said in Mumbai.
He, however, attacked the BJP-led opposition for moving an unprecedented 187 amendments to the Bill and added that the “real obstacle (to the Bill’s passage in the Rajya Sabha) was BJP’s demand that the amendments be passed”. Taking up each amendment would have taken hours, he added.
Chidambaram pointed out that the inclusion of the Lokayukta was one of the key demands made by Anna Hazare, but the Congress failed to convince Trinamool.
“We failed to convince the TMC.... we will try to refine and redraft that provision and try to carry the party with us,” said Chidambaram while ruling out the question of redrafting the Bill.
When asked about Hazare’s recent fast receiving less response, he said people’s views might have changed.
“I think people have begun to realise that while the civil society has the right to raise issues and arouse the conscience of political parties, law-making is a complex task that should be left to elected representatives.” Meanwhile, in a New Year message in Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the government was committed to set up an “effective Lokpal”. Singh said it was “unfortunate” that the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill could not be passed in Rajya Sabha.
“However, our Government is committed to the enactment of an effective Lokpal Act,” he asserted.
He said that dealing with the “serious problem” of corruption required a “multidimensional response”, with institutions of Lokpal and Lokayukta only an important part of the solution.