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Focus now shifts to Upper House

Uncertainty looms large over Lokpal Bill passage lPM hopeful

New Delhi: Uncertainty prevailed over the passage of Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday with Trinamool Congress on Wednesday night deciding to make a key amendment to the legislation adopted by Lok Sabha further complicating the numbers game in the House.

Trinamool Congress, which has

6 members in the 243-member Upper House where the Congress and its allies do not have majority, wants removal of the provisions relating to the setting up of Lokayuktas in the state which is contained in the Bill passed by Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

If the Government accepts the amendments, the Bill will have to be referred to the Lok Sabha again or a joint session of Parliament has to be convened for its clearance.

UPA troubleshooter and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee held talks with leaders of ally Trinamool Congress which has strong reservations over provisions in the Bill that it considers encroached on the states rights on appointment of the Lokayukta.

Trinamool Congress leaders Mukul Roy and Sudeep Bandopadhayay met Mukherjee after which Roy said the question of creating trouble for the government does not arise.

With Mukherjee reportedly ruling out any further amendments, Trinamool Congress has tabled amendments for removal of provisions relating to Lokayuktas that it feels are encroaching on the powers of states.

In a House with an effective strength of 243, the Congress and other allies in the UPA account for 94 and can count on the support of eight nominated members and independents and members of small parties accounting for around 10 MPs.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh hoped Rajya Sabha will pass Lokpal Bill on Thursday.

“I hope those having divergent views will respect verdict of Parliament,” PTI quoted the Prime Minister as saying. (PTI)

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