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Reconvene Parliament for Lokpal: BJP to President

New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday asked President Pratibha Patil to reconvene the winter session of parliament for a vote on the Lokpal bill that could not be passed after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned on Jan 29 midnight.

“We urged (the president) to reconvene the winter session for the passage of the Lokpal bill before the budget session,” BJP leader Ananth Kumar told IANS, after party leaders, including president Nitin Gadkari and star L.K. Advani, met Patil to complain about what they said was “subversion of parliament” over the pending legislation.

Rajya Sabha Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley told reporters after meeting Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan that they “complained that there has been a subversion of parliament institution”.

Jaitley accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of resorting to “contrived disturbances” to adjourn parliament to avoid voting on the anti-graft Lokpal bill as they did not have the required majority in Rajya Sabha.

“This is the first time in the country that to avoid voting, the government resorted to contrived disturbances in the parliament,” Jaitley said.

“In our memorandum we have urged the president to intervene in this matter,” he said, adding that the party has asked the president to suggest to the government that parliament session be reconvened and the voting procedure resumed.

Lok Sabha opposition leader Sushma Swaraj, former party president Rajnath Singh as well as M. Venkaiah Naidu, S.S. Ahluwalia and Ravi Shankar Prasad were amongst those who went to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Advani said BJP leaders sought the president’s intervention.

“Our national president and all us met the president and requested her to intervene. Our complaint and dissatisfaction is on what happened in the Rajya Sabha,” Advani said.

The Lokpal bill could not be passed in the upper house even after a three-day extension of the winter session. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned midnight Dec 29 without scheduled voting.

The BJP has termed this the “murder of democracy”.