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Cong push for ordinances to tackle graft
Party keen to pass pending legislation

New Delhi, Dec. 30: The Congress, in an effort to score brownie points in the raging corruption discourse, is planning to ask the Centre to bring ordinances on pending bills that will complete the legal framework envisaged to bring greater accountability in public life.

Although no final decision has been taken yet, a proposal has been made to take the ordinance route to enforce provisions in pending legislation on whistleblowers, grievance redress, judicial accountability, time-bound delivery of services and amendments in the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The government initially thought of calling a special session to pass these bills but that option is now being dismissed as not viable in the surcharged and divided polity.

A party source said: “Rahul Gandhi is serious about introducing this legal framework to fight corruption. We have discussed the possibility of bringing ordinances. There are issues to be sorted out and the government may consider taking that route after that.”

Parliament will meet again in February to pass the vote-on-account but little legislative business is expected weeks before the country goes to polls.

Rahul has been harping on these bills since the Lokpal Bill was passed in the last session and has accused the BJP and other parties of not being interested despite their lofty talk on corruption. Speaking on the Lokpal Bill in the Lok Sabha, he had suggested extension of the session to pass the bills but Parliament was adjourned sine die a couple of days before schedule because of repeated disruptions in both Houses.

Addressing the media after the Congress chief ministers’ conference on December 27, Rahul said: “If we are serious about fighting corruption, it is not about one bill. This is about a framework, a system. Now what is interesting to me is that there is only one party that is talking about the system, everybody else is talking but nobody is showing the path forward.

“You want to fight corruption, create a mechanism. What’s that mechanism? There are bills sitting in Parliament. Please pass those bills. We are dead serious, let us have a session, everybody get together and pass these bills. But when I say so, there is complete silence on the other side.”

Congress leaders feel Rahul’s strong advocacy of calling a short session to pass these bills may not yield results as the Opposition would not facilitate such a vital act at the fag end of the government’s tenure. Hence, the ordinance route is being contemplated.

After bringing the ordinances, the Congress plans to launch a massive propaganda about its inability to create the legal framework because of persistent disruption of Parliament in the past two years.

The Congress has already begun to create an environment for such a move, with its student wing NSUI holding a demonstration at Jantar Mantar today to celebrate the passage of the Lokpal Bill. It also launched a signature campaign to demand the passage of other pending bills to fight corruption.