By Saahil Menghani:
It’s season three of Anna vs the GovtÂ as the debate on the Lokpal Bill begins in Parliament and Anna goes on his 3-day fast in Mumbai. Venue, duration and strategy are different. It will be a three day event, but most interesting is the strategy shift. The three day fast will be followed by a jail bharo andolan. This piece focuses on a more supreme event that will take place along side in the capital – the debate on the Lokpal bill in the Parliament.
At YKA, we look at possibilities of what could come out at the end of this three day discussion. Will the Jan Lokpal be passed? If not, will the parliament session be further extended? Will a special session be called before the budget session? Will there be a joint session of the parliament?
POSSIBILITY 1: Both houses pass the bill and Lokpal becomes a law
This romantic possibility looks less probable, the main reason for which is the lack of consensus among political parties on various issues. SinceÂ at the end of the day it’s about ayes andÂ nays, number game will ultimately decide the fate of this bill. While UPA does have numbers in the Lok Sabha, it does not enjoy a majority in the upper house. Unless a consensus is achieved, the possibility of bill getting passed in the both the houses on December 29th seems improbable. (click here to see where each party stands)
POSSIBILITY 2: Bill is defeated in the Lok Sabha
The game can end even before it begins if the bill is defeated in the Lok Sabha itself. Though it is possible but doesn’t look likely, for the government is desperate to pass the bill at least in Lok Sabha – where it has numbers.
Bill is defeated in Lok Sabha itself and falls ‘ab initio’.Â Verdict: Possible, but not likely
POSSIBILITY 3: Bill passes in Lok Sabha, fails in Rajya Sabha
A highly probable event is the bill getting passed in Lok Sabha, but getting defeated in Rajya Sabha. Then, a special session will have to be called before the budget session.
POSSIBILITY 4: Amendments moved are defeated in Lok Sabha, but passed in Rajya Sabha
A fourth possibility could be that the BJP and the Left move amendments which are defeated in Lok Sabha, but passed in Rajya Sabha.
In that case, a joint session of both houses will have to be called to take the final decision, which could delay the passage of the Bill (and hence upset team Anna). Good news for all those who have booked their tickets for the jail yatra… this scenario is highly probable! In fact, this is one scenario where politicians will disagree to agree on ‘postponing the bill’. UPA has the numbers in the Lok Sabha so it is under the pressure to get it passed. In Rajya Sabha, the UPA is in minority and the ball will be in the opposition’s court. Hence, if the bill is not passed in the Rajya Sabha, the opposition will be to blame. UPA will embarrass BJP in Lok Sabha. BJP, in turn, would take revenge in Rajya Sabha.
However, if the bill is passed in Rajya Sabha, there is a high possibility that the passed bill will be different from the one passed by the Lok Sabha. In this scenario, a joint session will be called for a final decision.
POSSIBILITY 5: Bill is withdrawn on constitutional grounds
Those who would have cared to watch the proceedings of Lok Sabha on December 22nd (when the new Lokbal Bill was tabled) would know that the leader of opposition raised the issue that the bill fails on constitutional grounds. So possibility number 5 is of the bill being withdrawn at the initial stage because of constitutional problems. But don’t worry, no party would dare take this risk. The scenario is highly improbable.
But come what may, there are some events which are certain to unfold. My prediction is that we are heading for a showdown and the Nation is in for a hysteria. Three day extravaganza in the financial capital of Country. People wearing Anna topis and loaded with posters, festoons and hoardings on streets. On streets, you will see undemocratic dance in democratic costumes, posturing behind apolitical masks and projecting ‘holier than thou’ attitude by those who are not holy at all. Survival instincts of netas would never want the bill be passed. Invincible will of Anna Hazare would push Politicians to drop that very instinct. Congress would want to go to UP polls with a Lokpal bill in their bag. Reports suggest Parliament may sit till midnight. If that happens, history will be made.
To sum up what will happen, I’ll quote our Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee’s statement in Parlianment on Decemeber 22nd, “Ultimately 543 members (of Lok Sabha) will decide the fate of Lokpal.”
Saahil Menghani is the National Political Lead of Youth Ki Awaaz. With a keen eye on the political developments in the country, Saahil is a graduate in Journalism and has previously worked with the Times of India and CNN IBN.