Rajya Sabha to take up Lokpal Bill today

LokpalOur priority is the Lokpal Bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said on Thursday.

Amidst uncertainty over the continuation of the Winter Session, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath announced on Thursday that the Lokpal Bill will come up in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

"Our priority is the Lokpal Bill," Nath told reporters. The Lokpal Bill has to be taken up by the Rajya Sabha in the light of the report of the select committee. "It will then come up in the Lok Sabha (for consideration of the revised version of the Bill)," he said.

When asked if there was a move to adjourn Parliament sine die ahead of the schedule, he said, "There is no plan at the moment to curtail the session. We have allocated time for other businesses and we have a list of priorities."

In the meanwhile, the Supplementary Demands for Grants (General) and Demands for Grants (Railways) were passed amidst din in the Lok Sabha though both Houses remained dysfunctional on Thursday.

With the government under pressure to pass the Lokpal Bill due to the fast undertaken by Anna Hazare, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabh Sushma Swaraj said the government is running away from Parliament by trying to cut the session short and in the process blocking the anti-graft legislation.

Her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley said, "The government should bring the Bill with 15 amendments suggested by the select committee, and not 13 amendments, and the BJP will support it along with the UPA. The Rajya Sabha can pass it on Friday and the Lok Sabha on Monday."

Swaraj said she had told Nath in the morning that "if you can pass supplementary demands for grants in the din, then pass the Lokpal Bill too".

The Samajwadi Party, however, vowed to oppose the Bill. "There is no question of supporting it," SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said. When asked to spell out the reason for this stand, he said, "This is a hypothetical question. First let it come and then we will tell you."

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