India will not get a Lokpal anytime soon. The ill-starred bill was referred to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha after a trenchant opposition attack on the government for being evasive and taking recourse to parliamentary artifice over the anticorruption law. While a heated drama unfolded in the RS on Monday, the decision to refer the bill, already processed by a parliamentary committee, to yet another panel, drew Anna Hazare’s ire as he criticized the government for not being sincere about the law.
Opposition parties like the BJP and Left promptly chimed in, saying the government lacked the will for a Lokpal. The bill now cannot be expected before the monsoon session in August. Perhaps anticipating the criticism, the government did not initially move the motion referring the bill to a select committee. Instead, Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Aggarwal rose to move an “amendment” immediately after minister of state in PMO V Narayanasamy presented the bill. But the ploy boomeranged as the opposition accused the Centre of using the services of a “friendly opposition party”.