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Indian Parliament passes Historic anti-graft bill
December 18, 2013, 1:09 pm
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Parliament on Wednesday passed the crucial Lokpal Bill with the Lok Sabha adopting the measure as amended by the Rajya Sabha after a short discussion, amid the din created by pro- and anti-Telangana members.

Samajwadi Party and Shiv Sena members, opposing the bill, staged a walk-out in protest, as their counterparts from other parties, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj, supported the measure.

Gandhi sought extension of the winter session to pass six more bills which were "part of the comprehensive anti-corruption framework" of the UPA government.

"Lokpal Bill alone is not enough to fight corruption. What we need is a comprehensive anti-corruption code. The UPA government has prepared anti-corruption framework.

"Eight new central laws have been brought...We should complete the unfinished work of fighting corruption...Six anti-corruption bills are pending. If necessary, can we not extend this session of Parliament," Gandhi said as the debate began on the key bill to create an anti-graft ombudsman.

Noting that Lokpal Bill was part of this comprehensive framework, he said the RTI law was the first on the UPA list. The others which remain pending are Prevention of Corruption amendment, right to citizens for time-bound delivery of goods and services, public procurement, foreign bribery, judicial accountability and the whistleblowers bills, Gandhi said.

Swaraj supported the measure but attacked the Congress for clamouring to take credit for it, saying "the people of this country and the old man (Anna Hazare) who has undertaken fast several times deserve the credit."

Earlier, Speaker Meira Kumar allowed the bill, as amended by the Upper House, to be laid and taken up for consideration by Lok Sabha.

Anna Hazare ends fast

After the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha, social activist Anna Hazare broke his fast at Ralegan Siddhi.

An overjoyed social activist Anna Hazare hailed the passage of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament on Wednesday and said "we will be able to do something for the society and country".

"On behalf of the people of the country, the citizens of Ralegan Siddhi and all others who took part in the agitation, I thank the authorities for passing the bill," Hazare said, addressing a large crowd of supporters shortly after the Lok Sabha too passed the legislation cleared by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

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