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Government 'may' redraft Lokayukta provision: Chidambaram

Saturday December 31, 2011 05:52:08 PM, IANS

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Lokpal bill now in freeze, but discourse gets hotter

The Lokpal bill, which dominated public discourse for much of the year, appeared to have gone into cold storage Friday but the rhetoric got more vitriolic with calls for Prime Minister Manmohan  

Mumbai: In order to have bitter critic Trinamool Congress on board when the Lokpal bill is taken up again in the budget session of parliament, Home Minister P. Chidambaram Saturday expressed the government's willingness to revisit a Lokpal bill provision that makes it mandatory for state governments to create an anti-graft ombudsman on the central government model.

"We can refine and redraft that clause. In order to accommodate the TMC (Trinamool Congress) we may have to, I say may, redraft and redefine that one clause. In order to muster the majority in the Rajya Sabha we may, again underline may, accept one or two amendments," Chidambaram told reporters here.

He said the bill has not been defeated in the Rajya Sabha after a midnight fiasco in the upper house Thursday.

"It will be the same bill with possibly one or two amendments (that will be brought in the budget session)," said the home minister.

He said the government will in no case accept the 187 amendments, proposed by opposition MPs, because that would make the Lokpal legislation "an unrecognisable bill".

He said it was only prudent for the government to let the debate on the Lokpal remain inconclusive in the Rajya Sabha so that it can be taken up in the budget session,

He said there was no way the government could have resolved the matter related to the Lokpal at midnight when the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die without a vote on the key anti-graft legislation.

Asked if it was a failure of the government to muster numbers in the Rajya Sabha in favour of the bill, Chidambaram said: "We did that on Dec 27 (in the Lok Sabha) and came for praise for our floor management.

"It is like Dhoni (Indian cricket captain) winning a match, he is a good captain and if he loses a match he is a bad captain," the home minister said.

He asked social activist Anna Hazare to focus his campaign against the parties opposed to the idea of Lokayuktas in states.

"I sincerely hope that Anna Hazare recognises that the (Bharatiya Janata Party) BJP opposed or opposes in one form or the other the Lokayukta chapter which is a key demand of Hazare," he said.

The home minister pointed out that Hazare's case has been that the common person was affected mostly by the patwari, tehsildar and ration shops.

"The common man is affected by corruption at the lowest level which really falls within the state's purview. If the BJP directly or indirectly opposes the Lokayukta what does it mean? It means that they don't want the Lokayukta in states."






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