India parliament to debate anti-corruption billNew Age Online
The Indian parliament is expected to debate new anti-corruption laws amid a fresh hunger strike by an anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare, BBC reported.
The Lokpal bill, which Hazare has been demanding, sets up an independent ombudsman with the power to prosecute politicians and civil servants.
Hazare's 12-day fast led to the bill being introduced in parliament in 2011.
The lower house passed the bill that year but the upper house adjourned amid chaos without approving the law.
A string of major corruption scandals has damaged the government's reputation.
Hazare's latest, ‘indefinite’ hunger strike at his village of Ralegan Siddhi in the western state of Maharashtra has entered its eighth day on Tuesday.
Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said the majority of parties were agreed that the bill be passed on Tuesday.
The Congress party and the main opposition BJP have said they would support the passage of the bill in the upper house.
However, the regional Samajwadi Party, an ally of the Congress, said it would oppose the bill ‘tooth and nail’.
‘When a bill that has eluded a political consensus for decades comes close to actual enactment, cynicism must give way to pragmatism and hope,’ The Hindu newspaper said in an editorial on Tuesday.
Over the weekend, Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi pledged his support to the bill, saying it was a ‘very, very powerful instrument’ in the fight against corruption.
However, Arvind Kejriwal, a former top aide of Hazare in the anti-corruption campaign, has said the Lokpal bill which has been placed in the parliament was ‘weak’.
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