The BJP tried to shoot down the introduction of the Government’s version of the Lokpal bill in Lok Sabha today, on the issue of excluding the Prime Minister under the Bill.
The BJP’s motion, however, was defeated by voice vote and permission was granted by the Speaker for the introduction of the bill in the current form. However, the ‘starting trouble’ for the Government version of the bill may just be an indication of the recrimination in store for the future.
“The constitution of India guarantees equal rights to every citizen.. The Prime Minister can be prosecuted for crimes committed under the Indian Penal Code, under the Prevention of Corruption Act etc.. So why is he being exempted from the Lokpal which is being envisioned as a special authority,” opposition leader in the Lok Sabha and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said.
She further said that there are many other issues with the bill, but for the limited purpose of whether or not it may be allowed to be introduced at all, the issue of the PM was the only one she was raising now.
“We have many concerns. There are many amendments required to make this bill effective. But for the sake of brevity, we are raising this objection on the issue of including the Prime Minister. You can bring the bill (after including the PM) and we will allow you to table it, but we will not allow you to table it in this form,” Swaraj said.
Swaraj also reminded the Congress that BJP’s former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had dismissed such suggestions of excluding the Prime Minister with just a sentence, when he was in power.
The bill was nominally introduced before the lunch break intervened, before any details discussions could take place.