Ralegan Siddhi/New Delhi, Dec 9: Accusing the Parliamentary panel on Lokpal of fooling people, Team Anna today questioned the credibility of its report, claiming only 12 of the 30 MPs supported its proposals, even as government asked the activists to hold back any agitation till the bill is passed.
Anna Hazare, who has threatened to go on a day-long agitation at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday, alleged that the proposals will not help in fighting graft and repeated his charge that Rahul Gandhi was behind the watered down recommendations.
Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal wondered about the credibility of a report supported by “Lalu Prasad, Amar Singh and rest from Mayawati's BSP”.
“The issues remain the same. This means the Parliamentary Standing Committee has fooled the public. Their report does not help in fighting corruption,” Hazare told reporters in Ralegan Siddhi.
Kejriwal said in New Delhi, “Standing Committee had 30 members. Two never attended. Sixteen dissented. So this report is supported by balance 12. Seven are from Congress, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Amar Singh and rest from Mayawati's BSP. So much for credibility of this report.”
However, panel chairman Abishek Singhvi had earlier said that the a dissent note by an MP does not mean that he or she is against the entire report and they may be expressing their reservations against one or more points.
Appealing to Hazare not to go ahead with his fast on Sunday in protest against exclusion of his key demands like bringing lower bureaucracy under Lokpal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal said, “They should all wait for a decision in Parliament. People can give their views and Parliament takes the decision.”
In reply to a question on Hazare's agitation and Team Anna's attack on the Standing Committee's report on Lokpal Bill, Bansal said, “it amuses and bemuses me that discussions will be held in Jantar Mantar.”
Singhvi and Law Minister Salman Khurshid sought to allay apprehensions that making it a consitutional body would delay its passage and maintained that the process can be completed in a single day.
The talk in government circles is that the Bill could come up for discussion at a meeting of the Union Cabinet likely on December 14 and it would be brought for consideration on December 19.
Khurshid defended the move to give Constitutional status to Lokpal, saying it gives special guarantee of authority and integrity to an institution and that Rahul Gandhi's aspiration and determination is that it should be no less than the Constitutional institutions.
“Those who don't want Constitutional status must explain to the government and to people why they don't want it? My impression is in this country people seek Constitutional status as a special guarantee of the authority and integrity of an institution,” he said.
To Hazare's accusations that the Government has not fulfilled its promises with regard to the ‘Sense of the House' resolution adopted in Parliament in August, he said, “People who are inside the House will understand the sense better than those who are outside.”
The panel report states that it is “inconceivable that while parties are in favour of the institution of Lokpal in principle, as a statutory body, parties would not agree with equal alacrity for the passage of a Constitutional amendment bill”.
Singhvi said the proposed amendment bill to grant constitutional status will not have more than seven paragraphs.
Reacting to Team Anna's criticism, he said the panel could not put a rubber stamp on any of the proposals and has to take decisions based on its perceptions. “If we have to be rubber stamps, then Standing Committees should be abolished.”