New Delhi, Dec 29 (Agencies): Even as the government made frantic efforts to string together the requisite numbers to get the Lokpal Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday — the last day of the extended session of Parliament — it was twice reminded by the Opposition parties of the long haul ahead.
But the bigger headache for the government came from its ally, Trinamool Congress, which, just weeks after blocking FDI and the Pension Bill, insisted on moving a crucial amendment to the Lokpal Bill passed by Lok Sabha.
The Opposition parties flexed their numerical muscle in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, forcing the deferment of a Bill that was sought to be introduced by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, and then forcing an early adjournment of the day’s proceedings when the government wanted the House to discuss the Whistleblower Protection Act.
While that may look like trouble for the government, which is short of majority in the Upper House — the UPA tally stands at 95 in a House of 243 — both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan K Bansal put up a brave face and claimed the government would muster the numbers.
“Yesterday, the Lok Sabha passed the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill with a very substantial majority. The Bill will now be presented to Rajya Sabha tomorrow and I hope it will be passed by Rajya Sabha as well,” Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday.
“Legislation is the privilege of the Indian Parliament. That is how the Constitution of India defines it. When Parliament has spoken, it is time for other people to take note of the decision of Parliament. And I sincerely hope that all those who may have divergent views with regard to the Lokpal Bill would respect the verdict of our Parliament,” he said.