The Lok Sabha had a date with history today, December 22 of circa 2011 as it took up in greater details the matters concerning much talked about
anti-corruption Lokpal Bill, which was introduced in lower house
of parliament amid strong protests by a sizeable section
Te National Food Security Bill, which seeks to give legal right on cheaper foodgrains to 63.5 per cent of the country's population.
However, the proceedings were marred by repeated bedlam and
adjournment first till 2 pm and later for about one-and-half hour
again till 3.30 pm.
The first round of chaos was sparked off by the RJD floor leader and
party chief Lalu Prasad, who supported strongly by Samajwadi Party
members created ruckus over alleged motivated strategy to keep
minorities and weaker sections out of the proposed Lokpal Bill.
He claimed that the government has ensured that the proposed Lokpal
Bill draft does not reach all members.
Angry exchange of words and uproar led to noisy scenes and chaos for
nearly ten to 15 minutes.
Even as the Speaker Meira Kumar had allowed discussion on the
Constitution Amendment Bill on bringing transparency in Cooperative
societies, a din was raised by the RJD leader while he sought
permission to speak.
BJP member Arjun Meghawal was disrupted more than
once while participating in the constitution amendment bill
as the RJD leader was seen from moving members to members including
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and CPI-M floor leader Basudeb Acharia.
The Speaker Meira Kumar tried to bring order in the house and appealed
to the members to restrain from creating commotion. But the agitating
members had rushed to the well of the House and standing close to the
Speaker's chair and raised slogans protesting the alleged
non-inclusion of minorities from the Lokpal Bill.
Lalu Prasad said the 'removal' of Muslims, Scheduled Castes and
Scheduled Tribes was done by the Government at the behest of the RSS
and the BJP which he claimed were 'anti-minorities'.
Lalu Prasad said the issue was a serious issue and the House needed to
be made aware of this 'dangerous thing' as a contrary decision was
taken in the all-party meeting.
The Speaker made repeated attempts to pacify the RJD leader and others
saying she would give time to them during Zero Hour, but there was no
Raising slogans of "Musalmano ko kyon hatay, jawab do", the RJD leader
rushed to the well of the House, with Samajwadi Party members tailing
him leading to noisy scenes.
In the midst of din only, various papers and reports were laid by
members and the ministers.
Later, the BSP members led by Dara Singh Chauhan were also seen
supporting the move.
Amidst all this commotion, Minister for State for Food and Consumer
Affairs K V Thomas introduced the National Food Security Bill 2011.
The proposed legislation that would provide 7 kg of rice, wheat and
coarse grains per person per month to priority households at Rs 3, Rs
2 and Rs 1 per kg,
respectively, is being seen as the second flagship scheme of the UPA
government after Mahatma Gandhi-NREGA that was introduced during
Amid the chaos, the Speaker adjourned the House till 2 pm.
There was no respite even when the House re-assembled after 2 pm.
Several members were again on their feet trying to raise the issue of
Lokpal Bill and how the minorities and other weaker sections have been
Among others, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) floor leader also supported the
contentions of the agitating members that minorities were ignored in
setting up of the Lokpal. Among others, Dara Singh Chauhan (BSP) and
Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) also spoke on the issue.
The BSP leader said the government has ensured that the proposed
Lokpal Bill draft reach only select few members. The government is
trying to mislead people especially the minorities, he alleged.
Senior CPI-M member Acharia also maintained that at the all-party
meeting inclusion of minorities and the weaker sections in the Lokpal
were suggested; but the government has simply ignored them.
The re-worked draft of the Lokpal Bill was cleared by the Union
Cabinet on Tuesday, December 20.
The proposed legislation is in public debate for last 8 months after
anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare took up the agitation demanding
it on behalf of the civil society.
The morning session today was also marked by much confusion over
voting in electronic system.
There has to be repeated voting after confusion when the House put the
Constitutional Amendment Bill on Cooperative societies to vote.
However, in quick damage control, the government made 'quick changes' in the bill and added provisions for reservation.
The opposition members led by Sushma Swaraj said the Bill is "patently
un-constitutional" as there is a proposal for reservation for religious minorities and taking the cap over 50 per cent.
This can be be struck down by the Supreme Court the moment it is
challenged because the constitution does not allow any religious-based
reservation and also have any 50 per cent quota.
Mr Pranab Mukherjee, however, said the house had the "legislative competent" power to introduce the Bill.
Members target Pretender of a Gandhi:
In the high drama that preceded the introduction of supposed historical Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha today, the chief campaigner of the proposed Ombudsman to fight corruption menace, Anna Hazare, was subjected to severe crictism even as visibly agitated members warned the government against
giving in to his demands.
The master orator Mr Lalu Prasad said the Bill was like a "hanging
rope" for the political class.
The most emphatic observation against Anna Hazare came from veteran
parliamenterian and CPI leader Mr Gurudas Dasgupta.
The government need not be afraid of "somebody – who pretends to be
another Father of the Nation," he said without naming anyone.
"There is only one Father of the nation," Mr Dasguta waxed eloquently
Even Sonia Gandhi was seen thumping desks on his remarks.