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Lokpal Bill passed; Anna thanks parliamentarians, ends fast

Amid the din which marred the Bill proceedings, speaker Meira Kumar took up the bill and it was passed unanimously. Anna thanked the people who took part in the fast and the parliamentarians who helped in the passage of the bill and ended his fast.

After the Lokpal Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on late Tuesday evening, the Bill was tabled in Lok Sabha for the final amendments and nod at noon today. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha at around 1PM.

Celebrations began at Ralegan Siddhi where anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare was holding his indefinite fast. Anna thanked the people who took part in the fast and the parliamentarians who helped in the passage of the bill and ended his fast.

He said that the MPs had taken a strong step to combat corruption. Anna also thanked the select committee on behalf of the people. Anna further said that the government must now ensure that the bill becomes a law before the Elections Commission puts model code of conduct in place.

He said that now there was need to involve more people at national people to create a watchdog, which would ensure that the law is enforced at all levels.

Passage of the bill was almost doubtful with the Telangana MPs disrupting the question hour over the no-confidence motion against the UPA government. The Lok Sabha was adjourned briefly by speaker Meira Kumar at 11 AM following the diruptions.

After the Lok Sabha resumed at 12 PM, the Bill with amendments was tabled. The Trinamool Congress was first to oppose saying that the Bill was not formally introduced in the lower house. “There should be a two day notice which has not been given. We received the bill this morning,” TMC MP Sougata Roy said.

When union minister Kapil Sibal began listing the chronology of the Lokpal bill, the Telangana MPs reached to the well of the house shouting slogans. But speaker Meira Kumar let proceedings continue despite the din.

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After the chronology was listed, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj supported the passage of the Bill on her party’s behalf. However, she mentioned that the promptness showed by the government in pushing Lokpal Bill was absent for any other legislation.

“I wish we could have debated this and passed it with peace prevailing in Parliament,” Swaraj said, even as MPs shouted slogans around her. “It will be a historic session if we pass the Lokpal Bill,” she added.

Ensuring that the credit went to Anna Hazare, she said that the Congress had attempted to show that the credit for the bill should go to Sonia Gandhi but instead it should go to Anna who had shaken their conscience with his hunger strikes.

Rahul Gandhi also spoke in favour of the Lokpal Bill and said that the UPA government had been working to battle corruption in the country and said the Lokpal was one of many legislation it had formulated to battle it. “The Lokpal Bill is not adequate to fight corruption in this country. We need a comprehensive anti-corruption code…I believe it is responsibility of Lok Sabha to ensure six other bill related to corruption are passed,” he said.

Samajwadi party, who staged a walkout in Rajya Sabha yesterday on Lokpal Bill, repeated the same exercise in Lok Sabha too. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said the Bill would only divide the country further.

“Soniaji listen to me. I am telling you that this will be a blot on the history of the country,” he said. He also criticised the BJP for not opposing the bill and said they were not as transparent as they claimed.

“No one will pass any files if this bill is passed, the people of the nation will suffer as no one will do any work. There needs to be further discussion on this and brought back again,” he said. Condemning the bill, Yadav and his party members in the lower house walked out.

Janata Dal (United) MP Sharad Yadav also criticized the Lokpal Bill and said that it will prevent work from being undertaken. “The PM shouldn’t be accountable only to the Parliament and not to any other body like the Lokpal,” Yadav said.

Amid the din which marred the Bill proceedings, speaker Meira Kumar took up the bill and it was passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Prashant Bhushan spoke to the media and criticised the Lokpal Bill. He said that the Bill that has been passed will not be able to solve the purpose as it is not strong. According to Bhushan, the parties were compelled to pass a Lokpal Bill in haste because of the emergence of the AAP.

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