New Delhi: Anna Hazare has rejected the Lokpal Bill that the government proposes to introduce in Parliament during the winter session calling it weak. Hazare said in Pune that he will go on another fast from December 27 and also lunch a jail bharo agitation if the Lokpal Bill that he and his associates have proposed is not tabled in Parliament.
"If a Bill that is capable of putting a stop to corruption is passed and we are all very happy with it, then the fast I have planned for the 29th and the jail bharo andolan on the 1st can be stopped. Government's Lokpal Bill is weak. If the Lokpal Bill as per our demand is brought in the winter session then we will not agitate from December 27. The Citizen's Charter and the CBI (Central Bureau Investigation) should be brought under Lokpal ambit," Hazare said in Pune on Monday.
The Citizen's Charter Bill, cleared by the Union Cabinet on December 13, will spell out a citizen's charter containing a category of goods and services to be delivered in a time-bound manner and setting up a public grievance redressal panel.
But Team Anna wants Citizen's Charter Bill to be a part of the Lokpal.
Sources say that the Lokpal Bill is likely to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday for discussion and the winter session may be extended to pass the Lokpal Bill. Parliament may reconvene after Christmas from December 27 to 29 to discuss and pass the anti-corruption legislation.
Ahead of the Cabinet meeting on the Lokpal Bill on Monday, Opposition leaders LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee over a possible extension of the winter session of Parliament so that the Lokpal Bill can be tabled and passed.
Minister of State in the HRD Ministry D Purandeswari assured that the government is committed to getting a strong Lokpal Bill passed. "The Lokpal Bill will come in Parliament and then deliberations will happen with various parties expressing their views," she said.
She also said that the Prime Minister may be included in the Lokpal Bill, but with riders. "If you remember the Prime Minister had said he wants to be included under the ambit of the Lokpal, safeguards are important, so it's likely," she said.
The options that the government now has are:
Firstly, the government may table the Lokpal Bill in Parliament on Tuesday or Wednesday, begin a discussion right away and try and pass the bill this week itself.
A second option is that the bill be tabled on Tuesday or Wednesday, then depending on the mood in Parliament, extend the session to the next week for debate and passage of the bill.
Alternatively, the government may after tabling the bill in Parliament on Tuesday or Wednesday, call for a special extended session in early January for a debate or else once the bill is tabled, the government won't push for a debate till a broad consensus has been arrived at within Parliament.
Cabinet meet on Monday
The Union Cabinet will meet on Monday evening to discuss the Lokpal Bill. Sources say that the UPA, under pressure, has proposed that the Prime Minister be included in the bill with riders, that Group C bureaucrats under the Chief Vigilance Commissioner be supervised by Lokpal and that the CBI director be appointed by a panel comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Lokpal. Sources say the government has also proposed that Lokpal members get a vigilance clearance from the CVC.
Sources say the government is also proposing nearly 50 per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes in the Lokpal Bill and that the Lokpal monitors the CBI in cases of corruption it refers to the investigative agency.
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