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Anti-corruption bill creates chaos in India's upper house

Lawmakers adjourn without agreement on the proposed Lokpal bill

Anti-corruption bill creates chaos in India's upper house
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare

December 30, 2011

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India's upper house of parliament has adjourned amid chaos without a vote on the country's controversial anti-corruption Lokpal bill. The heated debate had stretched to midnight local time, with hundreds of amendments put forward. At one point, one MP snatched the bill from a minister and tore it up. The Lokpal bill, which empowers an independent ombudsman to prosecute politicians and civil servants, passed the lower house on Tuesday. The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) immediately called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resign, saying his government had shown it was not fit to rule. The government said it had respected the constitution with the adjournment at midnight and that the people of India would know who was responsible for the failure to reach a vote. The bill will now have to be revised and presented again. The Congress-led government had been hoping the upper house would take the final step and make the bill law. But media reports had said there was uncertainty about whether the governing coalition would be able to muster enough votes in the 243-member house. The ruling alliance has 94 members there and needed a simple majority of 122 MPs to ensure the passage of the bill. Full story: India corruption bill vote adjourned amid chaos Source: BBC
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