Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena members, opposing the Bill, staged a walk-out in protest, as their counterparts from other parties, including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, supported the measure.
Gandhi sought extension of the Winter Session to pass six more bills which were “part of the comprehensive anti-corruption framework” of the UPA government.
Noting that Lokpal Bill was part of this comprehensive framework, he said the RTI law was the first on the UPA list. The others which remain pending are Prevention of Corruption amendment, right to citizens for time-bound delivery of goods and services, public procurement, foreign bribery, judicial accountability and the whistleblowers bills, Gandhi said.
Swaraj supported the measure but attacked the Congress for clamoring to take credit for it, saying “the people of this country and the old man (Anna Hazare) who has undertaken fast several times deserve the credit.”
Law Minister Kapil Sibal said discussion on the measure has taken place over past two years both inside and outside the House. The Lok Sabha had passed it in December 2011 and urged the House to adopt the Bill returned by the Rajya Sabha along with the amendments. The Bill aimed at dealing with the menace of corruption and brings under its purview the Prime Minister with certain safeguards and other public servants. Rahul Gandhi said this was a chance to make history by passing the Lokpal Bill.
SP and Shiv Sena opposed the Bill. (PTI)