Rahul's take on the Lokpal bill

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday hit out at Anna Hazare’s agitation, saying it was seeking to subvert parliamentary supremacy. The statement invited swift retaliation from anti-graft protesters, who laid siege to his house. “A tactical incursion, divorced from the machinery of an elected government that seeks to undo the checks and balances created to protect the supremacy of Parliament sets a dangerous precedent for a democracy,” Rahul said, breaking his silence on the issue. The Congress heir apparent who has been criticized for keeping quiet on the hot button issue echoed the fears of Dalits and minorities that Anna’s agitation posed a threat to the rights guaranteed to them under the Constitution. “Tomorrow, the target may be something less universally heralded. It may attack the plurality of our society and democracy,” he said. Although Rahul, who had to endure disruptions from the opposition benches, argued for the creation of a Lokpal stronger than the one of the Hazare group’s conception, he appeared to tackle the hard line school in the party. The attack, made during the zero hour, immediately invited the wrath of the Gandhian’s supporters. 'Individual dictates’, however well-intentioned, must not be allowed to weaken democracy A single Bill will not usher in a corruption-free society. A set of effective laws is required Lokpal should be made a constitutional body like EC .The zero hour speech, disrupted by BJP members who protested Speaker Meira Kumar’s decision to allow Rahul to outline his view on Lokpal, was also characterized by the Congress MP underlining his anti-graft commitment. “We speak of a statutory Lokpal, but our discussions cease at the point of its accountability to the people and the risk that it might itself become corrupt. Madam Speaker, why not elevate the debate and fortify the Lokpal by making it a constitutional body accountable to Parliament like the Election Commission of India? I feel the time has come for us to seriously consider the idea,” Rahul said, enduring disruptions from the opposition benches. Later, Rahul said his suggestion could be a “game changer”, a contention that neither the opposition nor the Anna campaign shared. He said his proposal was intended to raise the Lokpal debate to the next level. Rahul, however, said the creation of a Lokpal alone could not eradicate corruption. Emphasizing the importance of a legal framework to end graft, he said alongside Lokpal, legislative remedies were needed to usher in government funding of elections, transparency in public procurement, regulation in sectors like land mining, tax reforms and grievance redressal in delivery of public services. While speaking to the media, Rahul reiterated what he said was a game changer, adding, “I think before I speak.” Rahul’s speech during zero hour saw opposition members protesting vehemently against the Speaker’s decision to allot him time without notice. When the opposition benches, led by Yashwant Sinha, launched their offensive, the treasury benches erupted in reply, with almost every MP — including leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee at one point of time — jumping to their feet. The Congress’s GenNext comprising MPs like Meenakshi Natarajan, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Deepender Hooda, Jyoti Mirdha became the party’s “shouting brigade” and Team Rahul looked on from the visitors’ gallery. If Congress MPs were hoping for a political response to either Anna’s attack on the government or the opposition’s charge that the government was incapable of combating corruption, it was not on the cards. Rahul tried to undercut Anna’s appeal by saying no individual could represent or encapsulate the war against corruption. “A representative, inclusive and accessible democracy is central to fighting corruption. Individuals have brought our country great gains. They have galvanized people in the cause of freedom and development. However, individual dictates, no matter how well-intentioned, must not weaken the democratic process. This process is often lengthy and lumbering. But it is so in order to be inclusive and fair,” Rahul said.

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