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Bhushan challenges Kejriwal to public debate on Lokpal Bill

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New Delhi :After terming ruling AAP’s 2015 ombudsman Bill “mahajokepal”, former party leader Prashant Bhushan today challenged Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to a public debate on the Jan Lokpal Bill even as he warned of a stir outside Assembly tomorrow when the proposed legislation is tabled.

The senior lawyer said that the agitation will be held under the aegis of Swaraj Abhiyan, a group floated by Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav following their expulsion from AAP. The fledgling outfit, which is a self-professed “non-political” forum, has taken issue with the 2015 Jan Lokpal Bill and has targeted AAP over it.

Although there was no immediate response or reaction from AAP on the gauntlet thrown down by Bhushan, the ruling party has rubbished the Supreme Court lawyer’s claims, charging that he was speaking against the said Bill at the behest of BJP.

“My track record is such that such allegations don’t merit any response,” he said.

Slamming the Bill, Bhushan said, “We were shocked to find that the present Bill is against every principle on the basis of which the anti-corruption movement fought for the institution of Janlokpal. It proposes a Lokpal that is to be completely controlled by the government.”

AAP is claiming that the Bill is identical to the the draft prepared during the Anna Hazare movement and the 2014 Bill that it had tried to introduce in the Delhi Assembly.

“Kejriwal should come and debate this in public. It will expose the fraud with the people of the country and the anti-corruption movement. If you have actually copied from Janlokpal Bill 2014 or Uttarakhand Bill, then what took you so long?

“Why did Arvind keep on tweeting that he is drafting the Bill?” Bhushan asked.

Former Union Law Minister and Prashant Bhushan’s father, Shanti Bhushan, too, hit out at Kejriwal and likened him to Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of the infamous Hitler regime.

“This Goebbels is the CM of Delhi. He had said he will slash the salaries of MLAs by half, but has instead raised it by two-and-a-half times,” charged Bhushan senior.

“I have already filed a petition in Supreme Court for a stronger and more transparent Lokpal at the Centre and for its immediate appointment. What are they saying?” he said.

However, Bhushan, known as an activist-lawyer, said he should not have lashed out at and used harsh words against AAP spokesperson Raghav Chadha during a TV debate over the issue.

“When someone comes up with such allegations and lies brazenly, you naturally get angry. Sometimes there is an outburst, but I still think such outbursts are not correct. You say certain things out of anger but the circumstances have to be considered as well,” he said.

Reacting to the allegations by the Bhushan duo, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh questioned as to why they and Yogendra Yadav, another expelled AAP leader, did not protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not appointing Lokpal at the Centre.

“AAP brings LOKPAL PB,YY,SB decide to stage a protest? Why? Double standard? Do you need more proof of collaboration between them-BJP. Modi has not appointed LOKPAL for last 18 months but Prashant, Yogendra, Shanti did not have time to criticise/protest till date. Why?” Ashutosh tweeted.

PTI