Team Anna disappointed over passage of 'useless' Lokpal Bill

Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said the bill passed in Lok Sabha was "useless" as it was not the one people asked for. Our protest and fast is on. We will now see what will happen in Rajya Sabha, he said

New Delhi: Voicing disappointment over passage of a "useless" Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha, Team Anna on Wednesday said it appeared the legislation is headed for a joint session of Parliament as the Rajya Sabha may pass a version different from the one already passed, reports PTI.

Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan said the bill passed in Lok Sabha was "useless" as it was not the one people asked for. "Our protest and fast is on. We will now see what will happen in Rajya Sabha," Mr Bhushan told reporters. This bill is 'very weak' as it has not given any prosecution powers to Lokpal besides keeping CBI out of the ombudsman's ambit, he said.

When asked whether Team Anna will also oppose parties other than Congress, he did not give a direct answer but said they will see the stand taken by the parties and then decide whether to oppose them in electoral campaigns. Mr Hazare had earlier announced that he will campaign against Congress-led government in the five poll-bound states.

Queried about the low turnout at Ramlila Maidan, Mr Bhushan said it was not like that way as some people have projected. "There were well over 5,000 people yesterday and around 7-8,000 in the afternoon. In Mumbai, according to me, there were 25,000. This is reasonably good. You cannot say that the support for the movement has fallen. People keep telling us that they are supporting us and are still with us," he said.

Yesterday at Ramlila Maidan, the crowd was estimated between 1-2,000 at its peak. With numbers stacked against government in Rajya Sabha for passage of Lokpal Bill, Kiran Bedi said the legislation appeared headed for a joint session of Parliament as the Upper House may pass a version different from the one passed in Lok Sabha.
 
Meanwhile Team Anna's protest against a "weak" Lokpal Bill remained a damp squib for the second day today as supporters refused to be drawn to Ramlila Maidan. Security personnel were more visible as barely 200 people gathered at the 30,000-capacity Maidan in the capital this morning and even prominent Team Anna members were conspicuous by their absence.

This is in sharp contrast to the 30,000 to 40,000 people who had poured in during Anna Hazare's fast at this venue in August. His two other fasts at Jantar Mantar in the past eight months had also witnessed a large turnout.

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Lokpal in danger in Rajya Sabha?

The absence of BSP, SP and RJD members, which resulted in the defeat of the Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, has raised questions over the fate of Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: The absence of BSP, SP and RJD members, which resulted in the defeat of the Constitution Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, has raised questions over the fate of Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha, reports PTI.

In the Upper House of Parliament, where the Lokpal Bill is likely to be taken up today, the Congress does not have majority on its own or with its allies in the UPA.

In the 245-member House, the Congress and its allies NCP, DMK, Trinamool Congress, LJP and RLD together have 93 members.

Parties supporting the government from outside—BSP (18), SP (5) and RJD (4)—account for 27 crucial votes.

These three parties had walked out of the Lok Sabha before voting on the Lokpal Bill last night but their absence did not matter much because the bill required only a simple majority and it was passed by a voice vote.

But the absence of 42 MPs from these three parties in the Lok Sabha spelt disaster for the government in the Constitutional Amendment Bill which required a special majority for passage.

If the three parties absent themselves during voting in the Rajya Sabha, then the government has a lot to worry.

The BJP which had also raised a number of objections to the Lokpal bill was to some extent mollified because the government came out with official amendments like giving option to states to set up a Lokayukta, changing the requirement of three-fourth members to clear investigation against prime minister to two-third and to protect the powers of Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha chairman in regard to MPs.

However, BJP leaders said they would review their position with the party still having strong reservation over the provision for quota for minorities in the Lokpal structure and control of Lokpal over CBI.

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