With Anna Hazare’s threat of an indefinite agitation for a strong anti-graft law looming large, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday said his government was working ‘day and night’ to shape the Lokpal Bill to enable parliament to pass the legislation in the winter session ending Dec 22.
He also reiterated that there should be ‘no doubt’ about the government’s sincerity to get the Lokpal Bill passed in the winter session itself.
The prime minister, returning home after a three-day official visit to Moscow for bilateral talks with the Russian leadership, told reporters who accompanied him that once the bill is taken to parliament, he wouldn’t know what will be the fate of the legislation there.
‘We will make all efforts to pass the bill in this session. We are working day and night to give shape to the bill and it’s my hope that by tomorrow (Sunday), we should be able to bring the bill to the cabinet,’ Singh said.
‘Thereafter, we will be ready to take it to parliament. But once it is in parliament, it is in the hands of parliament. We don’t know what could happen. But there should not be any doubt about our sincerity to get the bill passed in this session,’ he added.
Suspecting the intentions of the government on the Lokpal Bill, Hazare, in a letter to the prime minister, reiterated his ultimatum for parliament to pass legislation by end of the winter session and conveyed his resolve to go on an indefinite protest from Dec 27 if this does not happen.
Accusing the government of betraying the people, Hazare said he will launch a ‘jail bharo’ agitation from Dec 30, ahead of the earlier announced date of Jan 1.
The winter session is scheduled to end Dec 22, but the government has said it will extend the session, if needed, to pass the Lokpal Bill.