New Delhi : The Indian parliament Tuesday debated the contentious Lokpal bill even as Anna Hazare began his three-day fast in Mumbai to demand a strong anti-corruption law.
Here are some of the quotes from the debate in the Lok Sabha and from those gathered at Hazare’s fast.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: “The task of legislation is very serious business and must eventually be performed by all of us who have been constitutionally assigned this duty. Others can persuade and have their voices heard. But the decision must rest with us. I believe that the CBI should function independently of the Lokpal. I also believe that the CBI should function independently of the government. But independence does not mean absence of accountability.”
Anna Hazare: “Government is betraying us. I will campaign against the government in five poll-bound states. It’s time for us to make sacrifice and fight against corruption. I am not afraid of dying. I have decided that when I die it will be for the country and as long as I live I will work for the betterment of this country.”
Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha: “It is patently unconstitutional (bill)…deeply flawed and tampers with the basics of our constitution. What we are doing today is not good for India. India was divided on the basis of religion. The idea of reservation on the basis of religion had then sown the seeds of division of India. You are sowing the second seed for another division.”
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal: “BJP wants that this bill does not get passed… their politics is not to allow Lokpal. Tell that government is bringing a weak Lokpal and then go to the election-bound states. They have nothing to do with strong Lokpal. If the bill is passed, it will be written in golden letters. If it is defeated, the people will not forgive you.”
Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule: “We agree with the Shiv Sena. We don’t want the prime minister to be accountable to anybody. I am very proud of the leader of our country. Lokpal may not be a solution to all our problems but it is a step in the right direction. It is a healthy baby but don’t make it obese by giving it more work than it can cope with.”
Communist Party India-Marxist leader Basudeb Acharia: “There are lots of deficiencies in this (government) bill. We demand a strong, effective and credible Lokpal. We should enact a legislation accordingly. The bill that we are discussing has a whole lot of loopholes.”
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad: “Don’t ignore amendments, send (bill) to standing committee, skies will not fall if it is not passed immediately. When I was with the standing committee, I tried to know what was the qualification for being a Lokpal. I cannot find anyone more suitable than you (Manmohan Singh). We will make you the Lokpal.”
Trinamool Congress’s Kalyan Banerjee: “The bill encroaches upon the federal structure of constitution. Don’t undermine the state legislatures. It would be a dangerous proposition. We are all fighting against corruption.”
Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal: “We are appealing to parliament with folded hands to dump this useless Lokpal and accept our Jan Lokpal bill.”