Anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare says he recently received assurances from India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh and influential government leader Sonia Gandhi that the long-awaited Lokpal bill will be put to a vote during the next parliamentary session.
Speaking from his hometown in rural Maharashtra, Hazare said Singh and Gandhi sent him letters pledging their commitment to passing the bill.
The Lokpal bill would create an independent anti-corruption watchdog with the power to investigate government officials.
The bill, first conceived during a debate in parliament in 1963, passed the lower house of India’s parliament in 2011, but stalled in the upper house as lawmakers piled on more than 100 amendments.
Hazare has called the amended draft legislation the “Joke Pal Bill.” The government’s version of the bill excludes sitting prime ministers, judges, and junior officials from the Lokpal’s jurisdiction.
Last month, thousands of Hazare’s supporters gathered at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to put pressure on parliament, then in its winter session, to table the Lokpal bill.
Now, Team Anna’s hopes have turned to the budget session of parliament, set to begin next month.
The Lokpal bill is one of many pieces of anti-corruption legislation currently pending in India. ethiXbase’s special investigative report on India covers all relelvant bills being considered during the upcoming parliamentary session. Order the report and view sample pages here.