The Lokpal Bill that has been introduced in Parliament will set up “a very weak Lokpal,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said here on Friday, while calling upon supporters of the party to combine the struggle against corruption with the one against the neo-liberal policies of the Centre.
“This Bill will set up a very weak Lokpal — a Lokpal that has no effective powers…We have a number of issues with the Lokpal Bill,” Mr. Karat said, adding that it exempted the office of Prime Minister, empowered the government in his removal, and included government officials in the appointment of the Lokpal — all of which would affect the independence of the Lokpal.
Mr. Karat emphasised that the “overall policy framework under the neo-liberal regime itself creates and sustains corruption at the highest level.” The problems of corruption, price rise, unemployment, farmers’ distress, land grab and illegal mining are being created today because “the ruling class and government have adopted neo-liberal policies and transfer resources from the poor to the rich.”
He also said the government was refusing to act and change the policies on fuel prices, futures trading and the public distribution system that are essential in containing the escalation in prices of commodities.
He pointed out that in Parliament the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been protesting against the government’s failure to curb price rise, voted with the Congress on a resolution on price rise.
Only the Left and some secular parties said that they were against the draft and demanded a roll back on the increase in fuel prices, which has “only burdened the people,” he said.
Speaking at a function to mark the birth anniversary of one of the pioneers of the Left movement in India, Muzaffar Ahmed, Mr. Karat said those who believe in this ideology “must fight against the exploitative system.”
Mr. Karat said the country had witnessed two decades of liberalisation, which had brought growth to a narrow stratum of society.
“We have had growth that has led to deprivation among the vast masses of our people — inequalities have grown,” he said, adding that the government “was facilitating the loot and plunder.”
He said the imprisonment of the former Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, top bureaucrats and executives of corporations “was only the tip of the iceberg.” Zeenews