Stage set for showdown in Parliament over lokpal news
12 December 2011

Parliament has reconvened today for what promises to be another stormy session, this time not over foreign investment in retail but over a perhaps even more controversial issue; the passage of a lokpal bill for a strong anti-corruption watchdog as demanded by crusader Anna Hazare and his team.

Giving an indicator of things to come in the houses, several opposition leaders joined Anna Hazare on his one-day fast in New Delhi on Sunday, rejecting the government version of the bill and supporting some of the key demands of team Anna for a stronger lokpal.

The cabinet is likely to discuss the lokpal issue today, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has just returned from a Russia visit.

With most of the winter session paralysed over various issues, particularly the decision (now held in abeyance) to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, only nine working days remain for the passage of the bill.

Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav, who had joined team Anna on Sunday, has said that if needed, the session should be extended or a special session be called for a thorough debate on the lokpal issue.

If something of this sort does not happen, there may well be a recurrence of the nationwide protests sparked by Hazare's earlier fast at the same Jantar Mantar venue in April.

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Stage set for showdown in Parliament over lokpal