With millions of Indians on the streets pledging support for Anna Hazare’s movement & corruption crusader saying he won’t budge from Ramlila Maidan till the government agrees for an effective Jan Lokpal Bill, pressure has been mounting on the government to find a way out of the issue.
The Centre is considering debating a private member’s Jan Lokpal Bill in the Parliament. There is a view that two private member’s bills – introduced by BJP’s Varun Feroze Gandhi in Lok Sabha and independent member Rajiv Chandrashekhar in Rajya Sabha — can offer a way out.
Varun plans to move the Jan Lokpal Bill as his bill, while Chandrashekhar’s bill has incorporated features of civil society’s version of the legislation.
Since the grouse of the civil society is that Parliament won’t get to debate the merits of their bill, the two private members’ bills can give the two Houses an opportunity to assess the merits of the two rival pieces of legislation, potentially clearing the way for a resolution.
However, procedures and conventions may come in the way. A private member’s bill can be introduced in the House only after a month’s notice. While Varun Gandhi hasn’t yet formally sought the Speaker’s permission to move the bill, Chandrashekhar submitted his bill in the first week of August. So, neither has a month’s time to be taken up for adoption in this session. Still, extraordinary situations often lead to “creative” solutions. Perhaps, with the House’s permission, the process may be fast-tracked.
Meanwhile, differences within Congress over the way Anna Hazare issue was handled came to the fore yesterday with East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit stating that the Gandhian should not have been arrested and adverse comments made against him could have been avoided.
Asked whether Hazare’s arrest was wrong, Dikshit replied in the affirmative. “It was wrong on the part of Delhi police. I would not say it was the decision of UPA government. But I think it was wrong on the part of Delhi police to arrest him,” he told reporters.
The Congress MP said if the police thought it would lead to some public disturbance they could have detained him and as they negotiated in the evening for re-evaluation of the site and timing, they could have done that then and there.
“I think Delhi police should have been more proactive and arresting him was wrong. I am happy that the government came to know that it has done a mistake and rectified it. It is the largeness of the government that they made a mistake and rectified it,” Dikshit said.
On how to end the standoff between the government and Team Anna, he maintained that Hazare should follow the process and come to the Standing Committee. “The Bill is with the Standing Committee. The draft Bill goes through substantial changes. I can tell from my experiences as I was with the Standing Committee on Rural Development for NREGA and the Committee on Land Rehabilitation,” he said.
The young MP insisted that Standing Committee makes substantial changes to any proposed legislation.