Congress appeals for flexibility on Lokpal bill

August 23rd, 2011 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) The Congress Tuesday appealed for “flexibility and restraint” from all stakeholders on the Lokpal bill, ahead of an all-party meeting called by the United Progressive Alliance government to break the logjam over Anna Hazare’s demand for a stronger anti-graft legislation.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, on behalf of his party, made the appeal at the customary press conference at Parliament House after the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day over the corruption issue.

Singhvi also commended the government for sending the Lokpal bill to a parliamentary standing committee, where wide ranging discussion and consultations could be held to make the legislation stronger and effective.

“All stakeholders show flexibility and restraint. All stakeholders should give the committee a fair chance. It may, in fact, surprise all critics,” he said.

Singhvi also welcomed all efforts, be they official or unofficial, to hold dialogue with protesting Hazare’s team members to find an end to the impasse over the Lokpal bill.

Asked for his reaction to Hazare’s demand for passing the civil society activists’ version of the Lokpal bill in parliament before Aug 30, Singhvi said: “Anything that seems perfunctory, not debated upon and done overnight, will be highly criticised.”

He said under parliamentary methods, all legislations needed “due consideration”. The parliamentary committee, however, can take shorter time for debating a piece of legislation, he said, noting that the panel, headed by him, held its first meeting “unusually fast” in the parliamentary system.

Singhvi said the committee will consider different views on the provisions of the Lokpal bill, but to what extent those suggestions would be accepted was anybody’s guess at this point of time.

“There are multiple view points on the Lokpal bill. As they say, truth is the same, but wise men will see it in different ways. If the committee accepts one view, it doesn’t mean the other views are wrong,” he said.

“The objective of the government, political parties and the civil society is the same — to finish the demon of corruption. There are differences over the journey, but not the destination. But everybody should strive for a positive solution,” the Congress spokesperson said.

On Hazare’s supporters picketing residences of MPs across the country, Singhvi said it was not possible in a democracy to object to protests. “As long as there is no indiscipline and violence is eschewed, I don’t think in a democracy we can object to a protest.”

Regarding Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani’s demand for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation over corruption, Singhvi attacked the senior opposition leader, saying his statements betrayed his eagerness to be in power, despite being a “perpetual prime minister-in-waiting.”

The Congress spokesperson said it also clearly showed that the BJP was not interested in rooting out corruption or serious about bringing in the Lokpal legislation, but was only after grabbing power.

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