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Defiant BJD, TMC force govt to defer RTI amendment bill


Pallavi Ghosh,CNN-IBN
Sep 05, 2013 at 10:55pm IST

New Delhi: Under pressure from social activists and few political parties, the government was forced to defer the RTI amendment bill keeping political parties outside the ambit of the RTI but announced plans to bring it back in winter session of Parliament.

"To say politics is a public office is very wrong because tomorrow you will ask why I was given a ticket," said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath.

A defiant government all set to bring the amendment in the RTI act keeping political parties out of it. But a couple of hours later it opted out and referred the bill to the standing committee.

Sources say the government came under pressure from poliical parties like BJD, TMC which vehemently opposed the bill.

"System needs to become more transparent and there is a very strong public demand that we must reform the system and make particularly the funding aspect of political parties mandatorially available to the public," said Biju Janata Dal leader Jay Panda.

"This particular piece of legislation is highly immoral, unethical and legally not tennable, said TMC leader Dinesh Trivedi.

"All corruptions start there and in a election time political parties should definitely be in the ambit," said Maneka Gandhi

Sources say just moments before the minister was supposed to put the bill for discussion but BJP and some Congress MPs conveyed to the government that in an election year passage of this bill would send out the wrong message.

And also the fact that social activists like Aruna Roy's letters to Sonia Gandhi against this move, Sonia indicated to her party to go slow.

"We are really glad that there has been a decision now to refer this bill to the standing committee because in the parliamentary process that is the only place where citizens can be consulted," said activist Anajli Bharadwaj.

But a defiant government is banking on larger role and plans to pass it in the winter session. One change being mulled is that while funds could be under scrutiny political parties cannot be questioned about political decisions they take.

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