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PM's Impromptu Reply Surprises Opposition

PTI 25 Aug 2011, 22:13:51 IST

New Delhi, Aug 25: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's impromptu reply today to the debate on corruption in the Lok Sabha—which ended with the House passing an unanimous appeal to Anna Hazare to end his fast—took the Opposition by surprise.

When the debate on corruption resumed today after Question Hour in the Lok Sabha, six members were listed to speak. A marshal of the House walked upto Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and other senior BJP leaders and informed them that Singh is going to reply on behalf of the government.

Sources said this came as a surprise to the principal opposition party which was expecting Minister of State in PMO V Narayansamy to reply to the debate as he had “done the honours” in the Rajya Sabha when the discussion took place there.

Some members from both the Treasury and opposition benches were also pleasantly surprised when Singh did not read out his speech from a prepared text but spoke extempore. His speech lasted about 25 minutes.

Singh also threw a challenge to the opposition—which had earlier sought to blame him for the scams in his government—and asked it to investigate his record since the day he has been in politics.

On Hazare's agitation, he underlined the need for discussing all Bills, including the Jan Lokpal Bill of Team Anna, to establish a “strong and effective” Lokpal.

He also heaped praise on Hazare and said his life was “much too precious” and appealed to him to end his fast.

This led Swaraj to associate with the request, following which Speaker Meira Kumar appealed on behalf of the Lok Sabha to Hazare to give up his fast. PTI