BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Welcoming Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani’s statement of pledging support to the Lokpal Bill, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was in favour of placing the Bill in the monsoon session of Parliament.
“The drafting committee will discuss the bill and the government will see that it is placed in the monsoon session of Parliament,” Mukherjee told a meet-the-press programme here.
Mukherjee, who is the co-chairman of the joint committee that will draft the Lokpal Bill said, “We will complete the work of the committee quickly, so that we can place the bill in the monsoon session.”
Mukherjee welcomed Advani’s statement expressing support for the Bill: “I welcome his support. I have kept him informed. His party has to support the bill in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha by pressing the button in its favour when it will be put to vote, only after which it will be passed.”
He said he had also discussed the issue with Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and other parties, including the Left.
“There was talk about Lokpal Bill since 1972. Advani was a minister in the Union Government from 1977 to 1980 and a home minister from 1998 to 2004 when his party was leading the government. Nobody stopped them from passing the Bill. Nevertheless, better late than never. If they support it today it is good.”
The United Nations convention against corruption signed by India six years ago will be ratified shortly, the finance minister said while pointing out that the BJP had not passed the Lokpal Bill when it was in power.
“As far as the UN convention on graft is considered, there is a long legal procedure. The convention would be ratified shortly,” Mukherjee told mediapersons in Kolkata.
India signed the UN convention against corruption six years back but is yet to ratify the convention mainly due to domestic legal hassles.
“A joint drafting committee has been formed with five representatives from civil society nominated by Anna Hazare and five representatives nominated by the prime minister. This committee will discuss the Lokpal Bill. Now many people are saying many things.”
Hazare ended his 97-hour hunger strike Saturday on a happy note after the government conceded his demand for representation of the civil society in the drafting panel of the anti-graft bill.