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Rajya Sabha to take up Lokpal debate Thursday

Wednesday December 28, 2011 07:10:23 PM, IANS

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Government embarrassed, bill for statutory status for Lokpal defeated

n a major embarrassment to the United Progressive Alliance, a combined opposition Tuesday defeated the government move to provide constitutional status for the newly voted Lokpal institution. The suggestion for providing constitutional status for Lokpal was 

New Delhi: After a day of confusion on whether the Lokpal bill was to be moved in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday, the upper house is to take up the bill for debate on Thursday.

The announcement was made in the upper house by Deputy Chairman K. Rehman Khan in the evening, before he adjourned the house for the day.

Earlier, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla told reporters the debate will take place Thursday.

"Rajya Sabha will take up Lokpal Bill for discussion tomorrow," Shukla told reporters.

Confusion prevailed throughout the day about tabling of and discussion on the bill, which had to be signed by President Pratibha Patil after the amendments moved by Lok Sabha Tuesday night.

Even MPs said they were not aware of when the bill would be brought to the upper house.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley told reporters that members had no information when the bill would be brought, and said it displayed lack of management by the government.

Another BJP Rajya Sabha MP Prakash Javadekar said: "We have no idea when they will bring the bill in the Rajya Sabha."

Sources say the government has taken time to finalise its floor management and was talking to various parties to assess its strength in the upper house, where it is in minority.

In a house of 243, the ruling UPA has 95 members, well short of a simple majority.

On Tuesday, the government's failure in floor management caused it to suffer loss of face in the Lok Sabha with the constitutional amendment bill to give statutory status to Lokpal being defeated last night.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also met Jaitley Wednesday morning to garner support for the bill in the upper house.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha last week, and passed Tuesday midnight with several amendments following an over 10-hour debate.

In the morning, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy had said the bill would be taken up in the Rajya Sabha Thursday. However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal later said the debate may be taken up later Wednesday, adding to the confusion.











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