Two days after he came out to express his disagreement with the Supreme Court ruling on gay sex, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi gave another indication that he had decided to speak up about key issues — this time by strongly backing the Lokpal Bill that is likely to be taken up for passage in the Rajya Sabha Monday.
In what appeared to be a desperate bid to regain the party’s hold on the anti-corruption plank, especially after the drubbing in the Delhi Assembly elections, Rahul claimed that the RTI brought by the UPA government was a “bigger step” against corruption than the Lokpal Bill even as he maintained that there is “99 per cent” political consensus on the Bill.
He appealed to all political parties to “put aside small little differences” and “get together and finish the job” on what he called “a matter of national importance”. But he did not make any appeal to Anna Hazare who is on a fast to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed and denied vehemently the argument that the Congress and the UPA Government were trying to push the Bill now because of electoral reverses, especially in Delhi, and with an aim to spruce up its battered image.
The BJP was quick to respond, alleging the Congress and its allies were blocking the legislation.
“Government seems to have changed its heart again on the Lokpal Bill...The Bill should ideally have been passed in Rajya Sabha yesterday itself. We reiterate our stand that it should be discussed and passed on Monday. If Congress and its allies do not allow the house to function, then we are ready to pass it without a debate,” leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, said.
Addressing a rare press conference at the AICC headquarters Saturday evening along with Union ministers P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and V Narayanasamy and party general secretary Ajay Maken, Rahul said: “This is an extremely important bill. And we are 99 per cent there and I think if we get the support of all the parties, we can actually pass this bill.”
He denied the argument that the Congress is showing the urgency to push the Bill after the Aam Aadmi Party’s stunning debut in Delhi and because of Anna’s fast. “This is not about urgency. This is something with which we have been struggling for