Mumbai: BJP on Thursday accused the government of not being serious on the crucial issues of making the process of appointment of Lokpal free from government control and for providing autonomy to CBI.

The party also questioned the government's right to make amendments in the Lokpal Bill even when the Bill was the property of the Rajya Sabha, saying any change can be only met by the Upper House in terms of Parliamentary procedure.

"The process of appointment of Lokpal must be transparent and free from government control. The autonomy of the investigating body while investigating cases of corruption is of crucial importance. I regret to say that whatever we heard from the government today raises serious questions about that," BJP Chief Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Questioning the government's intentions, the BJP leader said the government has not been able to "convincingly convey" as to why the larger issues raised in the Select Committee of Parliament have not found favour with the government on the two crucial components.

He said BJP has been saying for the last two years that the country wants an effective Lokpal Bill which should be as per constitutional provisions.

Prasad said Lokayuktas in states should be in place within a year, making the Lokpal Bill as a 'model bill' for states to follow.

Asked if BJP supported the agitation launched by Anna Hazare, Prasad said "he is a public leader and we respect him. He has played an important role in awakening the public. He has full right to do so in a democracy. We will put forth his concerns during discussions on the Bill in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and we will try and redress all shortcomings in the Bill."

UPA survived on CBI's lack of integrity

Alleging that the UPA has survived on the strength of CBI's lack of integrity, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley on Thursday said a parliamentary panel has made recommendations which will liberate CBI partly from the clutches of the government.
"The government at the Centre has survived on the strength of CBI's lack of integrity," Jaitley said while delivering a lecture on 'Challenges India needs to overcome' at the K C College here.
"Every time during the vote in Parliament, I find on the eve of the vote, the CBI altering its stand in affidavits and the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party changing their stand in Parliament," he said.
"The Parliamentary Select Committee has made a recommendation which will liberate CBI partly from the clutches of the government," the senior BJP leader said. The key battle on Lokpal is how to liberate the CBI from the clutches of the government, he added.

On the recent India-Pakistan tension at the Line of Control (LoC) where two Indian soldiers were killed, he said, "Engagement per se will not solve the problem."
Calling Pakistan a "rogue" state, which is highly radicalised, Jaitley said it is represented by the Army, the ISI, the civilian government and the terrorists.
Touching upon the issue of Maoism, he said, "We need to seriously introspect how to deal with them (ultras)."
He said in order to develop the areas occupied by the Maoists, there should be a combination of developmental and police programme. "One without the other would be completely meaningless," he said.
Talking on the economic front, Jaitley stressed that the country needs to focus on achieving 9 percent growth.
"India needs to look at achieving 9 percent growth rate in next decade," he said while stressing on quality governance in the country.


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