14 December 2011

Why is PM Scared of Lokpal?

"Why is an honest Prime Minister like Manmohan Singh scared of Lokpal?" - Team Anna asked months back and today, amidst mounting pressures from the civil and the political class in the country, the Congress Party is yet to find an answer. Manmohan Singh had initially offered himself to be brought under the purview of Lokpal Bill; however, during the course of dialogues, PM mysteriously choose to take a U-turn on the issue.
Why is PM Scared of Lokpal?


The opposition parties seem to have come together for this single cause and sharing the stage of protest with the anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, they demanded in unity for the inclusion of Prime Minister and Grade-C bureaucrats under the Lokpal's ambit.  The opposition parties are all set to take up the issue during the all-party meet on Wednesday. BJP has decided to move an amendment motion on Lokpal if the demands for inclusion of prime minister, lower bureaucracy and Citizens' Charter are not met.


The civil society argues that non-inclusion of prime minster under the purview of Lokapal will shrink the scope of the proposed anti-corruption law and termed the government move a retrograde step.  It strives for a flawless anticorruption law that includes not just a small band of officers, but everyone right from top to bottom in the administrative ladder – a law that can ensure an honest investigation and an honest prosecution.


Meanwhile Shiromani Akali Dal MP, Bathinda Harsimrat Kaur Badal alleged that it's an attempt from the UPA government to shield the PM-in-waiting, Rahul Gandhi against any prosecution in the future.


Anna Hazre had earlier questioned the real power of the prime minister on this issue and said, the PM is ‘scared’ of being brought under ombudsman's purview, may be because he was “remote-controlled” by someone.


The agitating group is firm on its demand to bring the Central Bureau of Investigation under the ambit of the Lakpal and a key member of the civil society, Kiran Bedi claimed that there is a total consensus on the fact that the investigative wing should be taken out of political control. “The only confusion remaining is whether the Lokpal should include the investigative agency or it should oversee the agency,” she told in a debate in NDTV.


In this era of coalition governments, the Congress Party fears that subjecting the prime minister of the country under any investigation can trigger instability. However, the reports emerging from different sources of late indicate that under severe pressure from within the allies, opposition and civil society, the government may consider bringing Prime Minister and Group C employees under the ambit of Lokpal with certain conditions.