Lokpal will be brought in Budget Session: Govt

New Delhi: Putting up a brave front after it failed to muster the numbers in the Rajya Sabha, Government today said the Lokpal Bill will "definitely" be brought before the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session even as Congress leader Digvijay Singh defended the move saying extension of the House on Thursday night was not possible.

"Definitely we will bring it in March in the Budget session…we have to study the 187 amendments brought by Opposition parties as most are overlapping. Some amendments relate to only a part of a clause and not the entire clause, some demand removing the entire part of the Bill," Minister of State for Personnel V Narayanasamy said here. He said after going through the amendments, the government will take a call on what to accept and what to reject and get back to the Opposition parties.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted this morning saying "187 Amendments given till 6 pm on the day of debate and those too contradictory to each other. Extension of the House not within powers of Rajya Sabha." He also said, now that government has time, it must "try and bring about consensus and pass a strong implementable Lokpal Bill."

Referring to the amendments moved by key UPA partner Trinamool Congress on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Narayanasamy said its reservations are regarding the appointment of Lokayuktas in the states and "they have no grievances against Lokpal."

But at the same time the minister said Trinamool was part of the Cabinet decision to clear the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill introduced in Lok Sabha a few days ago. "They voted with us in the Lok Sabha though they had some reservations about the Constitutional amendment…we are talking to them…there is still some time and we will bring them around," he said.

Admitting that Government was disappointed with the way things unfolded in the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister Salman Khurshid, however, was hopeful of a resolution.
"We will work on this. We will find a solution," he said.

Khurshid said "excess amendments and excess talking" led to the situation in the Upper House. He said 187 amendments would have "totally changed the structure of the Bill."

After a marathon debate on Thursday, the Lokpal Bill had failed to get Parliament`s nod with Rajya Sabha abruptly adjourning sine die amid high midnight drama and Opposition accusing the the government of running away from a vote because it was in a minority.

Narayanasamy accused the BJP of "double speak", saying that while on one hand it demands a strong Lokpal Bill, on the other it wants to weaken the present legislation.
He also claimed that by demanding the inclusion of the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha in the Lokpal Selection Committee, it wanted the Opposition to have a majority in the panel.

According to the Bill passed by the Lok Sabha, the Selection Committee will consist of the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Chief Justice of India, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and an eminent jurist nominated by the President.
The minister said while BJP was supporting the movement of Anna Hazare, it was seeking to defeat the Bill in Parliament.

On the opposition by Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, he said the two had different agenda ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.