Lokpal finally law; Rahul seeks session extension to pass more Bills

Rahul GandhiRahul Gandhi is seeking for an extension to the Winter Session of Parliament to pass more anti-corruption laws. The Congress vice president is of the view that the Lokpal Bill alone cannot be expected to fight corruption effectively (Reuters)

Seeking to re-appropriate the moral high ground on the issue of corruption, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday gave up his reticence in Parliament to bat for the Lokpal Bill, stressing the need for a "comprehensive anti-corruption code" and seeking the extension of the winter session of Parliament to pass six anti-graft bills.

It was only the second time in the 15th Lok Sabha that the Amethi MP chose to speak his mind on a crucial issue. His last speech in the Lok Sabha, in August 2011, was also about corruption and the Lokpal.

"Today, we, in this house, have the opportunity to do what our predecessors in Parliament have been unable to do for 45 years since the first introduction of a Lokpal Bill by the government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1968. We have the chance to make history by enacting the Lokpal Bill," Rahul said as he appealed to all political parties to pass the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill unanimously.

Reiterating what he had said at his press conference Saturday, he said the Right to Information Act was the UPA government's first and most important assault on corruption. The Lokpal is necessary to strengthen the fight against corruption and ensure accountability of public officials, he said.

"But the Lokpal Bill alone is not adequate to fight corruption. We need a comprehensive anti-corruption code in this country. The UPA Government has developed a powerful anti-corruption framework consisting of eight new Central laws.

"Even after the passage of the Lokpal Bill, four of these laws still remain pending in the Lok Sabha and two in the Rajya Sabha. I believe it is our responsibility to complete our unfinished work in our fight against corruption. I believe it is the responsibility of the 15th Lok Sabha to consider and enact all six pending anti-corruption Bills before its term expires," Rahul said.

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