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Congress, BJP push for Lokpal; Anna supports it, AAP calls it 'jokepal'


Updated: December 14, 2013, 9:55 PM IST
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Congress, BJP push for Lokpal; Anna supports it, AAP calls it 'jokepal'
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare said he was happy with the amended legislation presented in the Rajya Sabha.

New Delhi: Just a few months before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the two major parties - Congress and BJP, seem to be keen to pass the Lokpal Bill in Parliament.

It seems the pressure to pass the Lokpal Bill started mounting on the UPA government after the spectacular victory by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi polls and with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare's indefinite hunger strike in Ralegan Siddhi to press for the passage of the Bill.

The Congress expressed its firm support for the Lokpal Bill saying that it is committed to the fight against corruption.

"The Congress party fully supports the Lokpal Bill. We have a strong Bill on which we have consensus," said Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi who was flanked by senior ministers P Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal while addressing media on Lokpal Bill.

Speaking on the progress of the Lokpal Bill, which has been tabled in the Rajya Sabha but is yet to be passed, the Congress leader said, "We are 99 per cent there. If we get the support of political parties we can pass this Bill. Lokpal is a matter of national importance, we need other parties' help."

The BJP too insisted that the party was always supportive for a strong Lokpal Bill. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said that his party will support the Bill even without a discussion.

"The Bill should be passed in Parliament on Monday. BJP is even willing to pass this Bill without any discussion in the House, in case any Congress ally does not allow House to function," Arun Jaitley stressed.

Meanwhile, Anna Hazare, who has been fasting for the past five days for the passage of Lokpal Bill, said he was happy with the amended legislation presented in the Rajya Sabha and would call off his hunger strike the moment the law is enacted.

"I will call off my fast as soon as the bill is passed by the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha endorses it and the President signs it into a law," Hazare said shortly after Rahul Gandhi made a strong pitch for passing the Bill, describing it as a "very, very powerful instrument" in the fight against corruption.

Anna Hazare also wrote a letter to Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav requesting his support for Lokpal Bill in Parliament.

However, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is still critical of the new Bill. He even tweeted questioning how Anna Hazare could support the Lokpal Bill in its current form.

"I am really surprised, how can Anna accept the sarkari Lokpal Bill? Sarkari Lokpal is a 'jokepal'," Kejriwal said in his tweet.

Arvind Kejriwal is also taking his time to decide whether to join hands with the Congress or the BJP to form government in Delhi.

Kejriwal wrote a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her BJP counterpart Rajnath Singh over the support offered by both the parties to AAP.

While the Congress has offered 'unconditional' support to AAP, BJP has offered 'issue-based' support to the party to form its government.

Kejriwal in his letter to both the leaders has listed 18 issues including Jan Lokpal Bill, electricity and water issues among others on which he has asked the two leading parties to specify their stand.

Every party is trying its best to get the most political mileage by projecting that they are determined to pass the Lokpal Bill and that they are concerned about people's betterment.

First Published: December 14, 2013, 9:55 PM IST
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