Back words by actions: Pranab to Advani

Thiruvnanthapuram: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday hit back at BJP leader L K Advani over remarks against the government on Lokpal Bill, asking why NDA failed to get it enacted while in power and said UPA was ready to do away with referring the bill to Parliament`s Standing Committee as per norms if the Opposition agreed.

"What had Advani done? What prevented him from getting the Lokpal bill passed when he was the Home Minister when the NDA was in power?" Mukherjee asked and asserted that UPA Government was ready to get the Lokpal Bill passed in the next session of Parliament if the Opposition cooperated with it.

Responding to queries on Advani`s demand that the Lokpal Bill should be introduced and passed in the next session of Parliament itself, Mukherjee said, "We are glad to get it passed if the opposition co-operated for it.

"I really welcome the suggestion. BJP is the principal opposition party. If he (Advani) prevails upon his members we will be too glad to get it passed without sending it to the Standing Committee. But instead of making announcements from the platform, let him ensure that his members in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will co-operate with us," Mukherjee told reporters at the KPCC headquarters here.

Attacking Advani for dubbing the UPA government as "the most corrupt ever seen by independent India", he sought to know what the BJP-led NDA Government had done for the enactment of the Lokpal Bill when it was in power from 1998 to 2004.

On yoga guru Baba Ramdev`s criticism about nomination of father-son lawyer duo Shanti and Prashant Bhushan as civil society members in the Lokpal drafting panel, he said these names were proposed by activist Anna Hazare himself.

"The agreement between the campaigners and the government was that the the nominees of the panel would be decided on 50:50 ratio. It was agreed that the government nominees would be selected by the Prime Minister and the civil group representatives by Hazare himself," he said.