Tuesday, December 27, 2011

UPA pushes through Lokpal bill in the most unconvincing manner

A significant chunk of opposition parties -- the Left Front (Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP)), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) walked out. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stayed on. But the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) managed to push through the contentious Lokpal Bill with amendments to the Lokayuktas part.

It is good news for Congress. It has scrambled to victory of sorts. This is not the time to analyse hw Congress blundered its way to a political victory, which does not please the Anna Hazare and his team as eloquently pointed out Rahstriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav and Akali Dal's Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Yadav said that the Hazare team had already consigned the government's Lokpal bill to the trash bin. Badal said that the government's bill was only a way to pacify the Lokpal agitators.

The government does not have the required numbers in Rajya Sabha but it could still manage to push through the Lokpal Bill through some sort of deal with the BJP, the main opposition party.

Though it was not intended to be a constitutional body, an idea mooted by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, the party wanted to occupy a higher ground by making the ombudsman a constitutional body. But it did not succeed reminding the Congress of the reality that it does not have the required majority to carry through a constitutional amendment.

The Lokpal Bill as it stands passed pleases no one but the Congress itself, which is a normal thing in democratic politics. The stumbling and the fumbling of the party is a mere curiosity and not an embarrassment after this pyrrhic victory in Lok Sabha. The Congress's image does not improve despite its Lokpal victory on technical points.

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