Belgaum (Karnataka), Feb 15:
“I once again appeal to the opposition parties, mainly the Bharatiya Janata Party to support us in passing the six pending bills, which will strengthen our resolve to fight corruption,” Gandhi said at a rally here, about 500 km from Bangalore.
The six draft legislations, which are part of the government’s anti-graft framework are – the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organisations Bill, 2011, the Right of Citizens for Time-bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievance Bill, 2011, the Public Procurement Bill, 2011, the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, and the Whistleblowers Protection Bill, 2011.
Parliament passed the historic Lokpal Bill and the Lokayuktas Bill, 2013, Dec 18, paving the way for setting up an ombudsman against corruption in public offices and ensure accountability.
Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to the state, participated in the “Bharat Nirman” rally to drum up support for the ruling party in the general elections.
Blaming the opposition for preventing parliament from functioning and passing important legislations, he said the anti-graft laws would empower the people to check corruption in public life.
“The BJP only talks while the Congress works for progress and development of the country. It was our party that empowered the people with the Right to Information (RTI) Act,” Gandhi told the gathering of about 60,000 people.
Turning towards a large number of women participating in the rally, Gandhi said the government would also strive to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in parliament to give them more representation in making laws.
“We will empower women to enter politics and contribute to the welfare of the people and well-being of the country. As women constitute about 50 percent of the population, more of them should represent in parliament and legislatures as MPs and MLAs,” he said.
Thanking the people for returning the party to power in the state in the May 2013 election, Gandhi blamed the previous BJP government for doing nothing for the socio-economic development of Karnataka.
“People have wisely rejected the politics of communalism and corruption in which the BJP was steeped into during its five-year misrule,” he said.
Expressing confidence that the Congress-led government would return to power after the general elections, Gandhi said the ruling party would continue to work for the poor, weaker sections of society and women.
“The chief minister (Siddaramaiah) is already doing a lot for the poor and farmers. His government is implementing the various programmes and welfare schemes such as Anna bhagya (subsidised rice) for the BPL families and Ksheera bhagya (free supply of milk to students of state-run and aided schools across the state,” he said to thunderous applause.
Gandhi is Sunday scheduled to attend a convention of women at Tumkur, about 70 km from Bangalore, and participate in a road show in the Mysore region.