rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 

Constitutional status for Lokpal defeated in Lok Sabha

Write a comment

December 27, 2011


23:57  Lok Sabha is adjourned till Wednesday:  

With the government not entirely having its way in the Lok Sabha, where the Opposition forced the defeat of the bill giving the Lokpal a constitutional status, the first day of the extended Lok Sabha session on Tuesday was a mixed bag.

The Lok Sabha has adjourned till Wednesday, when the agenda is comparatively lighter: The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, that will provide for accountability of judges and establish a credible mechanism for investigating individual complaints of misbehaviour, and also the Bill providing for increasing the retirement age of high court judges from the present 62 years to 65 years.

23:48  Pranab blames BJP for no constitutional status for Lokpal:  

Among the two clauses in the Constitution Amendment Bill that were defeated tonight in the Lok Sabha was the one granting constitutional status to the institution of the Lokpal, for which Pranab Mukherjee roundly blamed the Opposition parties, in particular the BJP.  

The motion for the passage of Constitution Amendment bill becomes infructous as all three clauses were negated in the voting in the division, announces Speaker Meira Kumar.

A sad day for democracy, sad day for institution, says Pranab on the defeat of Constitution Amendment Bill.

23:37  Two clauses out of Constitution Amendment Bill:  Two clauses in Constitution Amendment Bill not to be part of law as it fails to get two-thirds majority. Details on the clauses soon.
23:34  Division of votes underway in Lok Sabha:  After the voice vote clearing the Lokpal Bill, the Lok Sabha is facing a divison on the clauses and amendments, with some being passed and some being rejected. A fuller, clearer picture on the overall division will emerge in a while.
23:27  9th Lokpal Bill ares better than predecessors:  Some tidbits on the Lokpal Bill the Lok Sabha cleared today with a voice vote: This is the ninth Lokpal Bill introduced in government in a series that started as early as 1968 and ended in 2001. Seven of the previous bills lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, while one was withdrawn.
23:24  Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar in Lok Sabha:  Quite interesting to see Sonia Gandhi and Sharad Pawar seated next to each other in the Lok Sabha during the Lokpal Bill vote. Twelve years ago, the Maratha warlord had broken off from the Congress citing his unwillingness to accept her as prime minister, and launched the Nationalist Congress Party. Today, of course, the NCP is an ally of the UPA, and as the Lokpal Bill vote shows, share common concerns.
23:16  Defence, Coast Guard out of Lokpal ambit:  

A landmark bill for the creation of the Lokpal was passed by the Lok Sabha tonight with the government making it clear that setting up of Lokayuktas by the states would not be mandatory, amending a contentious provision in view of opposition from allies and others.

The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill 2011 was approved after the government moved a few other key amendments, including keeping the defence forces and Coast Guard personnel out of the purview of the anti-graft ombudsman and increasing the exemption time of former MPs from five to seven years.

A number of amendments moved by the Opposition, to include corporates, media and NGOs receiving donations, were defeated.

23:08  Anna Hazare won't be forced into hospital: Chavan:  Toral Varia files this update on Anna Hazare from Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has said there will be no forceful action to get Anna Hazare admitted to hospital. With that assurance, the IAC volunteers can breathe a sigh of relief.
23:06  If Anna resists, he may be taken forcefully to hospital:  

Toral Varia reports from Mumbai that Anna Hazare who has been on a fast at the MMRDA grounds, is likely to be hospitalised. Sources say the cops are waiting for the results of Anna's blood tests conducted by JJ hospital doctors. If Anna resists, he will be forcefully taken to the hospital, most likely JJ hospital.

Currently Team Anna is trying to convince him to call off his fast which could affect the  Jail Bharo andolan too. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has also made a personal appeal to Anna to call off the fast.

Meanwhile, IAC member Kiran Bedi has flown to New Delhi and IAC holds that as of now Anna is not going to any hospital. However, security personnel have been briefed to be on standby. Ambulances and other ammenities needed are all ready to take Anna to the hospital.

23:03  Left, BJD and AIADMK walk out after voice vote:  With the Lokpal Bill passed through a voice vote, the Left, BJD and the AIADMK staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha.
23:00  

Speaker Meira Kumar urges MPs to be more serious, as there is "constitutional amendment going on".

22:57  Voice vote gets Lokpal Bill through Lower House:  Lokpal bill passed in Lok Sabha by voice vote, reports PTI, but not much clarity on it. The Lok Sabha members are still shuffling about.
22:55  Anna is very resolute, says IAC volunteer:  

Meanwhile, Shazia Ilmi of the IAC told Toral Varia that Anna Hazare is not doing well.

"His condition is not very good. Not very conducive to continue the fast. He is still very resolute. Arvind (Kejriwal) and others are trying to convince him. He needs to have medication to bring down his fever and and control his BP. And for that he needs to eat. But he is very resolute. But he is definitely not going to any hospital as of now. Clearly he is not in any condition to continue the fast. It will have an impact on the Jail Bharo plan. We will have to replan everything."

22:53  PM's farewell speech? Sinha, Mukherjee in war of words:  

The Lok Sabha debate on the Lokpal Bill saw some acrimonious exchanges between the treasury (ruling) and opposition benches. At one point, BJP leader Yaswhant Sinha took a dig at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Lokpal Bill debate speech in Lok Sabha, calling it a "farewell speech".

Sinha's observation during the debate on the Lokpal Bill in the Lower House was countered a few hours later by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee who sarcastically told the BJP not to be impatient for power.

 

22:52  Amendment number 16 rejected in division of votes:  Speaker Meira Kumar called for a division on amendment number 16 at 10.55 pm, and the results were: Ayes: 189; Noes: 247; Abstentions: 2. With this, this particular amendment was rejected.
22:41  As the Look Sabha votes on the Lokpal Bill, here's a photograph from MMRDA ground in Mumbai, of an ailing Anna Hazare:  
22:41  

Clause 75 of the Bill as amended stands part of the Bill, the Lok Sabha has just voted. Ditto on Clauses 76 to 80 stand part of the Bill.

22:39  Lok Sabha votes on 74 clauses by 10.35 pm:  

The Lok Sabha is moving in double quick time, already it has voted on 74 clauses in the Lokpal Bill.

22:37  SP and BSP walk out of Lok Sabha vote on Lokpal Bill:  

The SP and BSP today staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha shortly before the voting on the LokpalBill tonight in protest against government bringing a "weak" legislation. 

"We had demanded a strong Lokpal. It is not strong. It is sarkari Lokpal. There is no meaning to it. It was brought ina hurry and under Anna Hazare's pressure," SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters in New Delhi.

Asked why did he not protest against the bill in the House by voting against it, Yadav said, "We don't want tosupport BJP." 

22:20  
Walkout by Bahujan Samaj Party (21 MPs) and Samajwadi Party  (22 MPs) before vote  reduces halfway mark to 250.
22:17  
Left seeks vote on bringing corporates under Lokpal Bill. BJP, JD(U) reject amendment.
22:10  Clause on Lokayukta amended
22:09  Members of Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party walk out of House during vote on Lokpal Bill
22:06  Samajwadi Party walks out of House during vote.
22:04  Speaker calls for voting on three bills
19:57  The Bill is likely to be put to vote today, so stay with us as that happens.
19:50  Tharoor: Our finest democratic move is to pass Lokpal:  

Best lines from Tharoor's speech: 

  • Let us today make one of our finest democratic moves by passing this Bill today.
  • We don't need a jasmine revolution, the scent of jasmine is in our democracy
  • For every bribe taker there is a bribe giver.We cannot point fingers and forget the moral responsibility of the society

 

Tharoor ends his speech with a rousing parallel to the national anthem: Let us end this session of Parliament with a rendering the national anthem knowing that we made a difference to the nation today by passing the Bill. This day, 100 years ago, the Jana Gana Mana was sung for the first time at the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress. Much bench thumping.

19:40  

Tharoor says there was more rhetoric, less substance in opposition speeches.

Says the bill is not a panacea to corruption but the shortcomings in the bill can be addressed later.

19:37  

Kapil Sibal listens to Tharoor with his chin resting on the bench.

A prepared speech, much like a school debate lacks fire, Mr Tharoor.

19:35  

Tharoor says a draconian bill can deter a honest bureaucrat. Unlike other MPs Tharoor reads from his notes -- erudite and well-modulated -- but totally lacks the spark of a Sushma Swaraj or a Kapil Sibal.

Tharoor says the Uttarkhand Lokayukta cited by the Opposition as an example is weak.

19:30  

Does the Chair know? Sushma Swaraj has been tweeting links of her speeches from inside the House.

 

Tharoor says the Jan Lokpal bill came about through an undemocratic process, but the Lokpal Bill has effective checks and balances. Says the PM's speech was the speech of a statesman. The bill is not corruption-centric, it's people centric.  

 

19:21  

Cong MP Shashi Tharoor says let us not underestimate the need for a strong, effective Lokpal Bill. Says Lokpal is an idea whose time has come.

19:17  

Yashwant Sinha laughs at his own wit, calls the Lokpal Bill, Rogpal Bill.

Shashi Tharoor is up next.

19:16  

Yashwant Sinha says people are fed up of high prices, corruption. Govt wants to tell the people that brought the Bill, but the Opposition rejected it.

He says there are many villages that are dealing with poverty and the government can still speak of inclusive growth? The country is sliding into an economic crisis but nobody is interested in addressing them.

If we want lift this country from the morass of corruption, the House has to rethink the Bill. It looks like the government has not even discussed the Lokpal Bill with its allies. Says the soul of democracy is consensus. You have not even bothered to achieve consensus, Yashwant Sinha tells the House.

19:10  Govt's legislations are corruption centric: Yashwant Sinha :  

Yashwant Sinha says two of our esteemed colleagues (alluding to A Raja, Suresh Kalmadi) are in jail, but not one of Atal Behari Vajpayee's ministers are in jail .

He says the government has no intentions of passing this bill. He tells the government that you cannot ignore the indignation of the people since it is your creation.

He says the government's legislations are corruption centric.

19:01  Yashwant Sinha says the Opposition is against this bill because the government deliberately brought in a toothless Bill. The government's intentions are therefore not to fight corruption, but the motive is purely political ahead of the five-state polls. The PM has said he wants a consenus, we doubt that, it seems they want to force it upon us.
18:58  

Says the government has purposely structured a weak Lokpal Bill. The result of this is that an old man is being forced to fast in Mumbai.

The PM who is supposed to be most honest politician heads the most corrupt party.

18:54  PM's statement in Parliament today was like a farewell speech :  

Always a good orator, expect this to be a lively speech. Yashwant Sinha says the need for Lokpal has never been so strong though it has come up for discussion many times.

Says PM's statement in Parliament today was like a farewell speech.

18:52  

In Parliament, the BJP's Yashwant Sinha speaks.

Says it is toughest to be Parliamentarians. We are at the public's disposal 24x7. People who think its easy to fight and win elections, don't know anything.

18:47  And another read from the NYT's India blogs: Parliament kicks off 'fight of the year'. Read
18:45  Here's what the New York Times' India blogs has on Anna's fast: Frustration and hope at Hazare's fast in Mumbai. Read  
18:39  While Gowda talks, read this: As state-backed firms once again become forces in global business, what they can learn from the greatest of them all -- the East India Company. On the Economist.
18:37  

HD Deve Gowda, Janta Dal (S) speaking now.

 

Barkha Dutt  tweets: CBi director in Parliament for last minute meetings. Will the government give up control. That one issue could break the impasee.

18:35  Harsimrat Kaur from the Shiromani Akali Dal speaking now. Says the Parliament session has been extended to pacify Team Anna. Government wants to see that the Bill is not passed, she says and adds that the Bill must be withdrawn or else the bureaucracy will cease to function.
18:30  At the MMRDA grounds, two LeD screens have begun broadcasting the Lok Sabha proceedings live, but no audio.
18:28  Lalu directing his ire at Team Anna tells the government: You have created this problem by entertaining those who will never be satisfied. Says they (Team Anna) want to impose power rejection and if they win they want the power to recall. Yeh kya hai, he asks, voice raised in fever-pitch theatrics. 
18:24  

Lalu urges Parliament to take this bill back. Says when the bill is put to vote they should have the courage to reject it since it is nothing but a "phansi ka phanda" noose around the Parliament's neck.

He tells the BJP to stop giving speeches, and bring in suggestions to better the Lokpal Bill.

18:21  

Lalu asks, Team Anna members criticise each other, where is the unity? Sushma Swaraj is much amused.

Lalu says the Bill will destabilise the Constitution. Let's vote on the Bill that we do not want the Bill, we want a stronger Bill, if the government doesn't agree, we are free to do what we want.

Insists that supermacy (sic) of Parliament is protected.

18:16  

Lalu says the supremacy of Parliament has to be protected.

Correction: Lalu says there is a lack of unity among Team Anna members, not MPs.

18:14  Lalu says there is a lack of unity among Parliamentarians.
18:13  

Speaker says, "Please be serious, what is this!" as the House twitters at Lalu's speech. Lalu says the Bill be the death warrant for all elected representatives. Fasting is not a solution to all problems -- baath baath pe anshan.

Says PMji  we don't doubt your integrity, if you bring in a strong Lokpal Bill, we will make you the Lokpal. PM and MPs laugh.

18:07  PM has given election speech in Parliament today:  

The session has been extended to pass the Bill.

Lalu says: We aren't against a strong Lokpal Bill. The PM has given an election speech in Parliament today.

Anna Hazare's life is very important, we should have a Save Anna Campaign, Lalu says tongue-in-cheek  

18:04  Lalu Prasad Yadav rises to speak in Parliament.
17:59  

The Congress core group meeting on the Lokpal Bill has begun. The meeting is to discuss amendments to the Bill. Section 24 may be scrapped. See our 17:00 post.

17:57  Dasgupta continues: Lokpal Bill is nothing but cosmetic, the government is playing to the galleries.
17:51  

The CPI says too much importance is being given to an individual (Anna Hazare) and to the protest. Commenting on the PM's speech in Parliament earlier today, Dasgupta said Dr Singh listed the achievements with an eye on the upcoming polls.

He admits the Lokpal Bill is a token beginning, but says it is not an effective one. He says the PM had asked for consensus but got controversy instead, with his remarks.

17:46  

In Parliament, Speaker Meira Kumar is back in the chair; CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta speaks.

17:44  Anupam Kher on low MMRDA turnout: It's not a WWF match:  

Toral Varia's despatch from the MMRDA grounds. An interview with actor Anupam Kher a die-hard Anna supporter.

 

Anupam Kher on the dismal turnout in Mumbai: See, an issue like this should not depend on number games. This is just a way of making people who are very close to this cause, defensive. It's not a WWF match. The point is that it's a very, very important issue and I don't think it should be judged by the number of people who came today.

Remember, those who have turned up, have come because of their passion and belief in the cause. I think that when a movement like this is going to affect the whole nation, this isn't the right way of looking at things. 

 

Full interview on rediff.com shortly

17:37  

The Left has so far moved 11 amendments to the Lokpal Bill. Wants corporates under the Lokpal Bill, something that every other party has left out.

17:23  This is Vishal Dadlani's take on the Lokpal Bill on twitter: Whatever else you may think, anyone with any sense must realise that india needs a fair and strong Lok Pal Bill. And only we can make it so.
17:20  Yoko Ono coming to India for 'inspiration':  

TMC's Kalyan Banerjee talking in Parliament and Vishal Dadlani takes the stage at the MMRDA grounds. Seems like Dadlani is singing, so, here's something more interesting...

 

Yoko Ono believes Bollywood has a lot to teach the world and says she will be looking for 'inspiration' in India when she holds an exhibition in New Delhi next month.

The avant-garde artist, musician and widow of Beatles singer John Lennon will visit the capital for an art show that opens on January 13. The Japanese-born Ono, 78, told the Hindustan Times newspaper in an email interview from her New York home that she hoped to get more out of her coming trip than on a previous India visit she made with Lennon.  

17:14  Indo-Pak pre-notification of ballistic missile tests pact signed:  

Just in: India, Pakistan agree to extend accord on pre-notification of ballistic missile tests by five years; the pact was to expire in 2012.

Senior Indian and Pakistani officials yesterday began two-day talks on nuclear and conventional confidence-building measures in Islamabad as part of the peace process between the two countries. 

This is the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on nuclear and conventional CBMs  since October 2007 though other officials, including the two foreign secretaries, have discussed these issues in recent meetings in Islamabad and New Delhi, diplomatic sources said.

17:11  On twitter: Supriya Sule opposing corruption is like Rahul G opposing dynasty politics.
17:09  PM: Unless Lokayuktas are put in place, the cancer of corruption will spread.
17:06  

The PM also said there has been public anger against corruption over the last four years, but all politicians are not corrupt. He says that all systems of governance must be based on trust.

 

17:00  Section 24 may be dropped from Lokpal Bill:  Section 24 likely to be dropped from the Lokpal Bill. That's the huge sticking point from an united opposition since it allows prosecution of MPs. Section 24 of the bill allows presiding officers to act on the basis of a Lokpal report even before a trial is completed. The Lok Sabha Speaker or Chairman of Rajya Sabha is required to table the Lokpal report and inform Lokpal about the action being taken - or not taken - against the members concerned.  
16:56  

PM: CBI should work independently of Lokpal, but should be accountable. Lokpal is a judicious bill and supports and independent CBI.

 

16:54  PM defends Lokpal Bill: India is looking at Parliament with bated breath and waits for the Bill to be passed.  
16:51  PM: Show India that the House means business:  The PM says the Parliament must keep public anger in mind and keep partisan politics at bay and pass the Lokpal Bill. "We must show the country that the House means business," says Dr Singh. He says legislation is a serious business and must always rest with the Parliament.
16:48  Amendment to Lokpal Bill meet at 5.30 pm:  

BTW, the Congress Core Group is to meet at 5.30 pm to discuss the amendments to the Lokpal Bill. One change expected can be that states can appoint their own Lokayukta.

16:46  PM: Believe in transparent, open governance:  

In Parliament, the PM is speaking. Says the government tabled the Bill because we are confident that it reflects the sense of the House. Says the government is open to other voices, but the decision must remain with us (the Parliament). The PM says the government believes in transparent legislation.

Goes on to give a rundown of the government's anti-graft legislations.

16:41  An Anna gem:  Seema Goswami on Twitter: Now Anna targets infertile women. "How can a barren woman understand the pain of childbirth?" Such sensitivity.
16:41  NCP echoes PM: Lokpal not a magic wand :  In Parliament, NCP MP Supriya Sule speaking. Says the Lokpal is not a magic wand (isn't that what the PM had also said), but is a small beginning. Says she is disappointed by the negativity during the Lokpal debate and says Anna's protest is unconstitutional.
16:37  Mumbaikars will come after work, (hopes) Team Anna:  

Another explanation by Team Anna's Mayank Gandhi, head of IAC's Mumbai chapter over the low turnout at MMRDA: "Most Mumbaikars are working people. They are all going to come here after work!"

 

In effect, this means most Delhiwallahs are NOT working people since the turnout at the Ramlila Grounds in August during the 11-day fast, was mammoth.

Do we hear Delhiwallahs protesting?

16:33  Shuttle buses to ferry supporters to MMRDA, crowds still slim:  

Toral Varia's despatch from the MMRDA grounds: In an attempt to get more support, IAC (India Against Corruption -- the name of the movement) has started a bus service from Bandra and Kurla stations to ply supporters to the MMRDA ground.

The IAC is claiming a turnout of around 16,000 supporters, but actual figures may not be more than 5000. 

16:30  

On quote:

 

Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy: I'm certainly with him (Anna Hazare) 100 per cent on this fast because the government has betrayed him and no government should betray its citizens after making a commitment.

 

Shiv Sena: Totally reject the Lokpal Bill. What guarantee is there that the Lokpal will not be corrupt?

 

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi: We are very much hopeful, we are sure that this important bill will be passed in the Parliament. Parliament will not be affected by Anna Hazare's fast. Parliament will pass the bill.

16:21  On Twitter: Ashish Shakya: Yes, the only item number Team Anna can afford. Anna invites Ramdev to join his fast.
16:18  Blasphemy law convict Asia Bibi fears poisoning in jail:  

Important updates from Parliament as they happen, meanwhile, other news.

 

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death under Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law, has claimed that a female jail warden had tried to strangulate her following an argument. Asia also said she cooks her own food in prison due to fears among authorities that she might be poisoned.

"I live in a confined cell. I am allowed to go out for only 30 minutes every day, and allowed to meet my family for one hour every Tuesday," Asia said.

"I am given raw material to cook for myself, since the administration fears I might be poisoned, as other Christians accused of blasphemy were poisoned or killed in the jail," she said in response to questions sent to her by the rights group.  

 

It may be recollected that Pakistan's Punjab governor Salman Taseer was assassinated over his stance over the blasphemy law.

16:14  Ramesh Srivats on Twitter: Slogan for Anna Hazare: "Mujhe Lokpal chahiye - Zinda ya MMRDA."
16:09  Govt likely to move amendments on the Lokpal Bill:  

In Parliament, Basudev Acharya speaks. Says even if the debate goes on till 10 pm, the bill will be put to vote. He says had the government not been indifferent to the demands of the people and the Opposition, this debate in the house would not have happened. Blames the inaction of the government and says that without its own investigative wing, the Lokpal will remain just a dysfunctional institution.

 

There is a parallel meet by the government on the Lokpal bill attended by Kapi P Chidambaram and Salman Khurshid.

15:40  Yesterday, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi describing Anna's proposals of people's right to reject a candidate in Parliamentary and Assembly elections said it was an "interesting possibility", but had "mixed feelings' on the issue, especially since its legal feasibility needs to be considered. 
15:36  Anna calls for Right to Reject after Lokpal Bill is passed:  

Ok, Anna is done with his speech.

Basically, he ended saying that the pressure on the government to pass an acceptable Lokpal Bill must be maintained and called on supporters to join the jail bharo andolan once the three-day fast ended on December 29. Once the Lokpal bill is passed, Anna said he would focus on the Right to Reject

Back to Parliament.

15:33  

Anna says he will tour the country, go from village to village and bring in the Second War of Independence. He says the Jan Lokpal bill is a household word thanks to the media, but it is for the people to carry on the movement. Will Mumbaikars sacrifice their casual leave? Unlikely.

 

In Parliament, Sharad Yadav says the country has made progress because of honest individuals (alluding to Anna Hazare).

15:28  Voters should have the right to reject: Anna:  

Anna says the people have to force politicians to hold their breath so that they will open their mouth. Speaking about the 'right to reject', Anna says voters should have the right to reject.

Says that MLAs and the MPs exist to serve their masters -- you and me -- the citizens of the country. 

Crowds back to listlessness. Do or die rhetoric seems to be over.

Anna also talks about the need to improve the quality of politicians, and points out that Parliament has at least 150 criminals.

15:23  Only pure people should enter the Lokpal 'temple': Anna:  

Says the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha are the temples of the Lokpal Bill. And therefore only "pavitra" pure people should enter the temple -- we the people -- not politicians.

He says the government has been taking away land forcibly from the farmers and this must stop. Says he will go to the five poll-bound states to protest.

15:20  Anna: Gadbad in my temperature, but will continue fast:  

More on that thermometer popping.

Anna Hazare says that doctors have discovered some gadbad in his temperature, but he will continue his fast. He is not afraid to die.

Crowds, still dismally low, wave national flags waved in a frenzy, at Anna's do or die rhetoric.   

 

15:16  Not 'govt conspiracy', fire at Airtel data centre:  

Psst. Conspiracy theorists within Team Anna should know that the reason why there is no Airtel network is because there's been a major fire at the Airtel Malad data centre and their data and cellular network services have been impacted. 

Team Anna said the government may be to blame for service disruption. Sigh.

15:10  

Bigger than the Parliament at Delhi is the Parliament of the people, says Anna. But bigger than both is the Parliament of the village.

Voters of poll-bound states must punish the government for betraying the Lokpal Bill.

15:08  Anna: Did not marry, shunned family for the nation :  

Anna says he's not afraid to die and will keep on fighting. Says Kejriwal and 'behen' Kiran Bedi asked him to stop his fast, but he will not listen to them. Says he has not eaten for three days. His fast for 12 days at the Ramlila Grounds was because of the people's support, he says. 

He says the government's betrayal over the Lokpal Bill is not a betrayal of Team Anna, but of the people. And one day, the people will rise, and punish the government, he says, with furrowed brows.   

15:05  

"Dil diya hai, he vatan, tere liye jaan bhi de denge," says Anna to ecstatic crowds.

Says he shunned his family, doesn't even know the names of his nephews and nieces; did not marry, for the cause of the nation.

15:02  Anna addresses the crowds: Will live and die for India:  

At the MMRDA: Anna rises to speak and for once, the audio feed is with him.

Sharad Yadav JD(U) is on mute now.

The doctors say Anna is fit to fast.

14:59  

And the thermometer is out. Four doctors in white coats pouring over the reading. Does he have fever? Doesn't he have fever? Docs in a huddle as Anna sits passively unaffected by the fuss.

Won't know since the audio feed on TV channels stays with Parliament.

14:54  The tension is killing. Does Anna still have fever. Thermometer stays firmly in his mouth.
14:52  

At MMRDA: A doctor on the dias has just popped a thermometer into Anna's mouth as the camera pans in to Anna pinching his nose shortly after.

14:51  

Dara Singh Chauhan of the BSP speaking in Parliament.

Mulayam's speech was more interesting. Also said that if the bill is passed, Lokpal will face the same fate as the CBI suffers today, it will face the same kind of accusations.

14:47  Stethoscope to chest, docs say Anna needs rest:  

Every TV channel  has the audio feed for Parliament, not the MMRDA meet.

Goes to show when Parliament works without adjournments and ruckus, it's by far the most interesting watch. What that means is Medha Patkar and Team Anna will continue their animated speeches, punctuated by waving the national flag, but you won't get to hear a word of what they are saying. Unless of course, the Parliament adjourns.

14:39  On Twitter: Dear Ms Kiran Bedi, the "6 to 10 times" the people you saw on the way to MMRDA is the usual Mumbai traffic.
14:36  

Medha in MMRDA, Mulayam in Parliament. Let's go to Mulayam since Patkar is on mute.

And as Barkha Dutt says on Twitter: Whatever else, Parliament, when it works is still India's most riveting TV show :) beats us all for sure.

 

Mulayam says Loktantra bigger than Lokpal. The Bill is weak and needs amendments. Says there is a lot of anger in people because of corruption.    

14:32  Mulayam rant in Parl: Govt's bill suits them, not the people :  

In Parliament, Mulayam Singh Yadav, the first speaker post lunch, says the government's Lokpal bill suits them, not the people. He says, much as everyone else has, that the bill will not end corruption.

Mulayam adds that democracy is bigger than the Lokpal Bill.

14:28  

At MMRDA, Kejriwal says there is corruption at every level -- at the passport office, ration office, government offices, which is why there is a need for a strong citizen's charter. He also talks about how Group C and D babus are being left out of the bill. 

14:26  Crowds trickle out at MMRDA :  At MMRDA, post lunch, and possibly because of the afternoon sun, the already thin crowd begins to trickle out. Possibly also because of the lack of action and the same spiel being thrown up over and over again by Team Anna. Arvind Kejriwal, who, had the advantage of an audio feed, as against Kiran Bedi, since Parliament had been adjourned is back on mute now that LS is in session again.
14:20  Lokpal debate resumes, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav speaking.
14:19  Anna on antibiotics, want him to break fast: Kejriwal :  

OK, here's what Arvind Kejriwal had been saying to a listless crowd. (After that puri-bhaji for lunch, the smattering of people present are bound to get more listless.)

Kejriwal says, "I am going to further Kiran Bedi's request. Annaji is on antibiotics. He has been unwell since the last three days and we have requested him earlier too, to rest and to stay at home. We have told him that we will carry the movement ahead, but Anna is firm on the protest.

"But, now that you - the people of india - have requested him, I am sure he will consider your request and rest. Anna will announce his decision when he addresses the crowd."

14:10  

On Twitter, OverheardatMMRDA is trending...  Hilarious!

 

Khushboo Bhatia: Reporter: "To kya aap bhi Anna ka sath denge aur kuch nahi khayenge?" Random Man : "Haa aaj waise bhi Tuesday hai." 

 

Ushy Mohan Das: Quickkk...Pass my latesht L'Oreal make up kit...TV camera is zooming

 

Sai Manish: Pepsico's VP on his blackberry texting his boss: 'Sir, potentially 10,000 new gatorade customers'

 

Neville Shah: Dude, Don 2? What time show?

 

Ashish Shakya: "I'm here because I like watching people commit suicide very, very slowly."

 

Abhigyan Arora: Yahaan par New Year par kuch ho raha hai?

 

bud_y_sir Dan: Hey look there's the camera..i think i am on TV. Yay!

 

Abhigyan Arora: woh chote baalon waali lady kahaan gayi?

 

14:05  Puri-sabzi for lunch, dinner, poha for tea time at MMRDA:  

Since Arvind Kejriwal sounds like a stuck record, here's news of what Team Anna is serving up for lunch and tea at the MMRDA ground.

It's puri-sabji for lunch and dinner and poha for snacks. "We have made arrangements to provide snacks, tea and food to 10,000 people," said Sumit Gupta from Giriraj Seva Samiti, who has set up Anna ki Rasoi along with Janseva Sansthan, an NGO from Rohtak.

Sixty people will be working round-the-clock to prepare the food. "Anna says he will fast and others should support him. So they need to eat, to be here for three days," said the organisers.

"Main hoon Anna (I am Anna)" caps and badges are also being sold for Rs 10 each.

 

Just like the government's mid-day meals at municipal schools ensured attendance went up, wonder if Anna ki Rasoi will draw Mumbaikars.

13:58  

Now that Parliament has adjourned for lunch till 2.15 pm, you can finally hear Arvind Kejriwal speak at the MMRDA ground.

 

On Twitter: Overheard at MMRDA grounds: Now Sachin is gone, lets stay here. Waise khane mein kya denge yeh log?

13:55  Kiran Bedi tries to drum up support:  

Toral Varia reporting from the MMRDA ground says the dismal turnout at the site of Anna Hazare's fast obviously disappointed Team Anna. This, clearly evident in the way Kiran Bedi tried to ensure interest remained by creating a two-part story on why and how she got involved with the agitation.

"I will tell you the first part today, for the second part you will have to come tomorrow. You will come na? (Distinctly pleading tone, as opposed to her strident tone at Jantar Mantar). You will leave your homes and offices to come here and show your support, na?" 

Kiran Bedi offered her thanks to those who had turned out to support the fast. She said, "I extend my thanks to those of you who were standing on pavements waving at Anna as he was passing by from Juhu to MMRDA. Even if they haven't come here to the grounds, they have still expressed their support.

"I also thank those who are at home and watching this protest. (Doesn't know she's on mute on TV thanks to the Parliamentary debate). At least they are watching and connecting with us. They are keeping track of this movement." 

13:46  

Lok Sabha adjourned till 2.15 pm.

13:43  

Conspiracy theorists abound: A Team Anna member says mobile networks down in Mumbai may be a conspiracy to ensure low turnout.

 

If you have a case in court, you know Kapil Sibal should be your lawyer. Impressive presentation in Parliament.

13:38  

Kiran Bedi asks the crowds, still dismally small, to continue with the protest, but discontinue the fast, reports Toral Varia.

She says Anna has been suffering from, viral fever and has not eaten since the last two days. She requests Anna to eat fruits and break his fast. 

A Team Anna member says they are worried about his deteriorating health.

13:33  Surprise, surprise! Kiran Bedi has just announced that Anna Hazare has fever and wants him to stop his fast.
13:32  Team Anna fast begins on mute:  

At the MMRDA grounds, Kiran Bedi speaks on mute. So far, not a single TV channel has been covering the event, as the focus remains firmly on the Lokpal debate in Parliament. Though both the events are on screen, cheek-by-jowl, its Parliament that is being heard.

This, is where Team Anna, normally amazingly media savvy, seems to have got it all wrong. A Kapil Sibal and a Sushma Swaraj in Parliament are guaranteed to grab all the eyeballs as compared to Kejriwal and co.

If you recollect, the Jantar Mantar fast which began on August 15 got uninterrupted TV coverage.

13:25  

At the MMRDA grounds, the youth, the alleged backbone of Anna Hazare's movement seems to have decided not to bunk work or college. Certainly MIA.

 

13:19  Sibal: Karnataka should be eye-opener for BJP:  

Sibal says the BJP basically has nothing to offer in terms of building a stronger Lokpal, as they just want to foster their political aspirations.

Says the BJP will go against Sense of House if it opposes the Lokpal Bill -- says the truth is: Apne ghar mein bhrastachar aapnao aur dusron pe aaarop lagaye.  

The BJP has been lecturing people on autonomy, but has Gujarat had a Lokpal? No, it hasn't, not in the last nine years, says Sibal.

(All that amid continuous interruptions by the Opposition).

13:13  

Speaker Meira Kumar sounds like Dhritarashtra in the teleserial Mahabharata, repeating, "Yeh kya ho raha hai, yeh kya ho raha hai."

13:12  Medha Patkar and Arvind Kejriwal began the fast by singing Jana Gana Mana, says Toral Varia.
13:08  Numbers at MMRDA go up as Anna arrives:  Toral Varia reporting from the MMRDA grounds says numbers have gradually begun to increase. However, it's still not as much as Team Anna had expected. IAC volunteers are now positive crowds will grow. Certain embarassement for Team Anna if that doesn't happen.
13:02  

Kapil Sibal quotes the provision in the Lokpal Bill that allows the government to notify different sections of the law on different states and says the Parliament has every right to bring a bill under Article 253. The Article directly relates to implementation of the Lokpal Bill in states, it cannot be brought under 252 as BJP wants.

 

Speaker Meira Kumar says plaintively, "Yeh, sab kya ho raha hai" as opposition disrupts Sibal's speech.

12:59  On poor turnout, Medha Patkar says: "This is not a numbers game. People may have gone to work, but we know that they are with us.
12:56  At the MMRDA grounds Kiran Bedi is waving the national flag on the dias, as Mayank Gandhi, Arvind Kerjriwal stand next to her.
12:52  It's Sibal vs Swaraj in Parliament:  

Sibal says Sushma Swaraj's arguments are flawed. Swaraj also wants to send the Lokpal Bill to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for further discussion, and wants the government to accept its amendments to improve the Lokpal Bill or else withdraw it.

Sibal says the people will not forgive the Opposition if the Lokpal Bill is not passed. Sibal can't go beyond saying, "madam, madam, madam", in quick succession, as Swaraj interrupts him.

Sibal says the government bill deals with graft, and the Parliament does have tje powers to deal with it.

12:48  

In Parliament, Kapil Sibal rises to speak on behalf of the Congress, responding to Sushma Swaraj's charges. Says BJP's charge of infringing on federal powers is wrong -- this has to do with bhrashtachar (corruption).

12:46  Anna begins fast at MMRDA:  

Toral Varia at the MMRDA ground says Team Anna aide Medha Patkar has arrived with her contingent of supporters to join the protest. Meanwhile, protests in Pune have a very disappointing turnout. Only about a 100 have turned up at the venue, and this, when Pune reportedly has a lot of Anna followers. 

Congress happy, we presume.

12:41  Just as Mumbai was debating the sense and sensibility of Anna Hazare beginning his fast when the Melbourne Test match was on, Sachin Tendulkar is out for 73. As Venkata Satish G says on Twitter: Sachin got out to watch Anna's fast live.
12:37  Sushma: Govt behaves like Bill is albatross around its neck:  

Sushma Swaraj debates the Lokpal Bill:  

Addressing the government, she says: Tum hi kaatil tum hi jallat tum hi munsif. We wanted the CBI to be freed from government control, but this Bill does exactly the opposite as all the power lies with the government.

Swaraj says the BJP wants the jurist from the Lokpal selection panel dropped in favor of a Rajya Sabha MP.

Referring to Pranab Mukherjee tabling the Bill last Thursday, Swaraj says that his attitude was like as if the Lokpal is an albatross around the govt's neck and it wants to get rid of it somehow.

12:30  

If you think Sushma Swaraj has been speaking for quite a while, digest this: Bofors was debated in the Parliament for 64 hours!

 

And on Day 2 of the Melbourne Test, Sachin Tendulkar dismissed for 73. Will the 100th century remain a dream? See our Live updates

12:22  Sushma addressing Lalu, says: Government used you to address the Lokpal issue. Why are you playing into the government's hands? She says the government and Lalu are trying to divide the country on the basis of religion.
12:20  

Sushma Swaraj objects to the 50 per cent reservation for minorities in the Lokpal Bill saying constitutional posts do not have reservation.

Lalu Prasad Yadav promptly interrupts her.

12:07  No traffic blocks en route to MMRDA:  

Toral Varia from the MMRDA ground says a crowd of approximately 500 to 600 people are singing patriotic songs and Vande Mataram. Cops stationed at every signal en route to the MMRDA ground with a wireless unit. Both women and male uniformed police personnel along with traffic constable ensuring smooth movement of traffic towards MMRDA so far. 

That, dear reader, is the difference between Mumbai and Delhi.When Anna was fasting at Jantar Mantar in August, access to and from the area and all around was a nightmare.  

12:02  

Earlier, the PM had said that had the government not been confident, it would not have introduced the Lokpal Bill.

In Parliament, Lalu, who earlier disrupted Narayanswamy when he moved the Bill for discussion, nods in assent at Sushma Swaraj's speech.

11:57  

Sushma Swaraj says the bill is inadequate and therefore disappoints people. She says the bill also infringes on state power and one cannot force the state to follow the centre's dictats.

Kapil Sibal, who will lead the government's arguments on the Bill along with Shashi Tharoor, listens intently.  

 

11:51  Sushma Swaraj says the government's bill infringes on the Constitution, has lots of flaws, is inadequate and violates the federal structure.
11:49  Sushma Swaraj: Too many deficiencies in govt's bill :  

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj rises to speak. Says, it looks like the government has brought the bill with a lot of resentment and instead of speaking on the Bill, he spoke on politics. She says the government's defence by Narayanswamy was too aggressive.  

11:45  MMRDA grounds still empty as it awaits Anna:  

We will go back and forth from Parliament and Anna Hazare's fast at the MMRDA ground.

Rediff.com's Toral Varia who is at the MMRDA ground tells us that the crowd at the MMRDA grounds is still wafer thin, unlike what it was at the Jantar Mantar fast. 

Anna is apparently at SV Road, so the fast which was scheduled to begin at 11 am has been delayed. However, reports says that much like the Jantar Mantar fast, Anna is being followed by a train of people, metres long.

11:37  

Unrelated, but important -- our national anthem, Jana gana mana, written and composed by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore turns 100 today.  

11:35  

Shortly after Parliament convened, the Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendt) Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Lok Sabha. Here's what the Bill says.

 

Narayanswamy's blood pressure shoots up as Lalu continues to disrupt his speech.

11:33  Lalu disrupts Narayanswamy's speech:  

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav disrupts Narayanswamy's speech.

The reason why all this is happening -- Anna Hazare and his IAC movement -- is yet to reach the MMRDA grounds in Mumbai. Low turnout so far at the grounds, ditto in Delhi, where a parallel fast is on, spearheaded by key Anna aide and eminent Supreme Court lawyer Shanti Bhushan.

11:31  Lokpal bill moved in Parl, debate to begin in 20 minutes:  

Moving the Lokpal Bill for discussion Narayanswamy says the government brought transperancy, removed discretionary powers of ministers, brought a new bill to accommodate Anna's demands.

 

Parliamentary Affairs minister PK Bansal says the Lokpal debate will begin in the next 15 to 20 minutes.

11:28  

The Lokpal debate is to begin shortly.

Opposition key speakers include Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar, Sharad Yadav, Lalu and Mulayam.

 

Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor will lead the debate from the Treasury benches

11:25  Lokpal bill moved in Parliament for debate, passage:  

MoS PMO Narayanswamy has right now moved the Lokpal Bill in Parliament for debate and passage. The Lokpal debate is to start shortly after protests from RJD, SP and BJP.

11:16  Protests in Parl over delay in Lokpal debate:  

In Parliament, the BJP, Mulayam and Lalu Prasad Yadav protest over the delay in the debate of the Lokpal Bill, likely to begin at 2 pm.

 

Key speakers during the debate include: Kapail Sibal, Pranab Mukherjee, Salman Khurshid, Sanjay Nirupam and Shashi Tharoor .

11:14  On Mid Day, potholes at the MMRDA ground filled up just in time for Anna's fast. Read
11:11  Historic Lokpal Bill debate likely to begin at 2 pm:  

Lokpal debate in Parliament is expected to begin at 2 pm.

Here is what else is expected in Parliament today...

Prevention of Money-Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2011

Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2011 (Amendment of Part VI of Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950)
Electronic Delivery of Services Bill, 2011.

Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research Bill, 2011

Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2011 and Constitution (One Hundred and Sixteenth Amendment) Bill, 2011 (Insertion of new Part XIVB)

Public Interest Disclosure and Protection to Persons Making the Disclosures Bill, 2010 

Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 and 

Constitution (One Hundred and Fourteenth Amendment) Bill, 2010 (Amendment of articles 217 and 224)

11:07  Lok Sabha proceedings begin...:  

Proceedings in the Lok Sabha have begun. Yesterday, the BJP and the Congress had issued a whip asking all MPs to be present for the Lokpal debate today.

 

Shashi Tharoor tweets: Going in to LokPal debate. Expecting to speak later, after a round of Opposition statements. Looking forward2a good debate &a strong outcome

11:05  Winter chill keeps crowds away from Anna fast in Delhi :  

There is a simultaneous fast being held in Delhi, but it has been delayed. The protest was scheduled to start at 10 am, but the crowd was not as huge as witnessed during the earlier agitation when Hazare was present. 

The leader of the protest Shanti Bhushan came to the podium at 10:30 am though another Team Anna member and his son Prashant Bhushan was at the venue before explaining to media persons about the protest and the delayed start. 

The senior Bhushan sat alone at the dais as music was played. Hazare was supposed to sit on a fast here but the venue was changed taking into consideration the weather in the capital.

10:59  Demolition-man Khairnar: Anna is a nincompoop :  

Former Deputy Commissioner of the BMC GR Khairnar has slammed Anna Hazare and his team. Khairnar said Hazare does not deserve the attention he is getting for spearheading the movement against graft.  

"Our people get swayed in emotions, propaganda and media have made this nincompoop (Anna Hazare) from Maharashtra taken to New Delhi and unnecessarily praising him for his opinion.

"So much that today they have become arrogant and are in a position to threaten who believe that only there are four-five people are intelligent; which is wrong," said Khairnar.  

He  urged the people not to blindly follow Hazare and his team but continue to garner support for the anti-corruption Lokpal Bill.  

"Anna's team of rascals is instigating emotions. It is important for the people to know that the Lokpal (Ombudsman) Bill is good for the country and should be brought soon. If there are any drawbacks they can be reworked later on. So people should not fall into their trap and don''t support Anna but only focus on getting the Bill passed," added Khairnar. 

Team Anna has rejected the government''s version of the Lokpal Bill in Parliament, and termed it to be weak. They have been pressurising the government to accept their demands including bringing the CBI under the ambit of the anti-corruption ombudsman.

10:52  Selection of Lokpal, Lokayukta biased: NCPRI:  

More criticism for the Lokpal Bill.

The Aruna Roy-led NCPRI today attacked the Lokpal Bill for its "lack of appropriateness", saying it does not provide for adequate independence for the
ombudsman or power to investigate cases.

In its critique of the Bill, the National Campaign for People's Right to Information said the appropriateness of  'The Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011' could well be determined by asking questions like whether the Lokpal is adequately independent, whether it is empowered to detect and investigate and prosecute corruption cases.

It alleged that the selection committee for Lokpal and Lokayukta is "biased" in favour of the ruling party and demanded that investigative wing of the state police be put under Lokayuktas administrative and functional control so that
it has an independent probe agency. 

The NCPRI also asked whether the proposed Lokpal has adequate jurisdiction so that no category of public servant is exempt from effective scrutiny and adequately accountable to the people of India. 

10:49  BJP, Left unite over CBI in Lokpal Bill:  What can cause hiccups in the passing of the Lokpal Bill is a crucial amendment that the opposition BJP and Left want -- the power of the Lokpal over the CBI. The BJP and Left have drafted a slew of amendments which they intend to move on the bill, but it is over freeing the CBI from government control that they are together, and in direct conflict with the government, reports the Indian Express.
10:43  Bansal, Pranab, Narayanswamy chalk out Parl strategy:  

As the Congress waits it out for fast to begin, the party's other big headache -- the Lokpal Bill is up for discussion in the Lok Sabha today. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, MoS PMO Narayanswami and Parliamentary Affairs minister PK Bansal are, right now, chalking out a strategy for the upcoming debate.

A day that promises to be packed with news... stay with us.

10:37  

Digvijaya Singh further tweets to say that Team Anna is cruel to make Anna fast  alone.

Remember, Anna will begin his three-day fast today.

10:35  Digvijaya tweets: Anna's supporters should fast as well:  

Anna Hazare has now left for the fast venue at the MMRDA grounds at Bandra Kurla Complex. ETA is 11.15 am. He is supposed to begin his fast at 11 am.

Congress spokesperson Digvijaya Singh seems ill-informed. Tweets that Anna's supporters should fast as well. Again, a repeat of what he said during the August fast at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.

In fact, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi are fasting along with Anna, who supporters say is still under the weather. He had a viral infection, just a few days ago.

10:31  Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi to fast with Anna :  

Soon after, Anna Hazare's convoy left for Juhu where the face of the anti-graft movement paid respects at Mahatma Gandhi's statue, along with key members of his team Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Manish Sisodia and former Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde.

Kejriwal and Bedi are scheduled to fast with Hazare. Earlier, Hazare, looking a bit under the weather left the state government guest house at Bandra. He was suffering from cold and fever and was under medication. Hazare, after paying tributes to the father of the nation, sent for a mattress on which he sat in meditation in front of the Mahatma's statue. He will later proceed to the
MMRDA ground at Bandra-Kurla Complex.

10:16  Black flags greet Anna Hazare en route to Juhu:   Rediff.com's Toral Varia reports: Activists of the Republican Party of India waved black flags at Anna Hazare and supporters while he was en route to Juhu to visit the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the locality.

Hazare's convoy, on way to Mahatma Gandhi's statue on Juhu beach, was briefly stopped by around 20 men carrying black flags and national tricolour and shouting "Anna Hazare murdabad", close to the guest house where the activist stayed overnight.
09:44  Govt to monitor Anna Hazare's speeches:  
A visibly uncomfortable government has decided to keep a strict watch on Anna Hazare's and his fiery speeches during his three-day fast, which begins Tuesday in Mumbai to press for a strong Lokpal.

Additional Chief Secretary of Home UC Sarangi said that the state government will keep a strict watch on Anna's agitation and his speeches during the three-day agitation.

Sarangi also warned that if anything objectionable is found in his speeches, the government will take appropriate action against him. 
09:38  Refrain from violence, Anna Hazare tells supporters:   Anna Hazare has appealed to his supporters to not resort to any form of violence during his three-day fast.

He told media persons, "I appeal to the people not to indulge in violence. We will follow the path of ahimsa during our fast."
09:30  Why the Lokpal bill faces a challenge:  The Constitutional (116 amendment) bill is the enabling bill that would enable lawmakers to grant the Lokpal constitutional status. Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt reports that to maintain the set procedure of the Lok Sabha the constitutional ammendment bill, which requires two-third majority in both houses of Parliament, has to be passed before passing the Lokpal and Lokayukta bill.

Read the rest of the story here...
09:29  Number crunch to pass Lokpal Bill worries Congress:  The government says it will wait and see what the majority of MPs and political parties have to say once the bill comes to the floor for discussion. Read Correspondent Renu Mittal's report here.
09:25  No smooth sailing for Lokpal Bill:  Meanwhile in New Delhi, with strong opposition from the Bharatiya Janata Party and Left parties regarding some of the clauses, the passage of the Lokpal Bill cannot be predicted.

Of the 545 members of the Lok Sabha, 252 (if Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal, which are otherwise allies of the government but opposed to several aspects of the Lok Pal Bill are included in this list) are against one or other aspect of the bill.

Therefore, the government has to ensure that all those on its side are present and voting in the House.

09:14  Anna fast venue becomes a police camp:  
For a change the plush Bandra Kurla Complex, which is home to several Indian and multi-national companies and is also known for organising various national and international exhibitions, wears a different look. 

The entire area, which also has the MMRDA ground where Anna Hazare is scheduled to sit on a three-day fast from today, has been converted into a police camp as Anna supporters wearing Mi Anna Hazare caps thronged to the place.
09:09  Anna Hazare's fast to begin at 11am:  
On Tuesday morning, Anna Hazare will go to the Juhu beach where there is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi and take his blessings. He will be later escorted to the fast venue -- the MMRDA ground at suburban Bandra-Kurla Complex -- by a motorbike rally.

The anti-graft crusader will begin his fast from 11 am.
09:03  News as it happens!:  
Good Morning.

December 27 is going to be a historic day when the Lok Sabha takes up discussion on the Lokpal Bill. The House will witness a day-long combined discussion on the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2011 and the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to give the ombudsman a Constitutional status.

At the same time, in Mumbai, social activist Anna Hazare will sit on a three-day fast demanding a strong Lokpal. Key members of his team, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, are scheduled to fast with Hazare in Mumbai, while some others
will undertake the fast in Delhi. 

Stars spotted!  What's this?

Spotted: Anurag Kashyap in Italy
Reader Mehboob Aboobakar sends us a photograph.

More stars spotted

Met a celebrity?
Email us photos & videos