Congress, BJP lock horns as Modi Govt. introduces new Lokayukta Bill

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 02, 2013 14:50 hrs

With the Narendra Modi Government introducing a bill in the Gujarat assembly that attempts to overhaul the process of appointing the Lokayukta, thereby virtually giving the full control to the state, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Tuesday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) adopted double standards on the issue, one for the Centre and another for the government ruled by it.

"It is symbolic of the Bharatiya Janata Party to have double standards as they have one stand on Lokpal in Delhi and another on Lokayukta in Ahmedabad," he told mediapersons here.

Meanwhile, the BJP, which rules Gujarat, claimed that the bill that has been tabled in the assembly incorporates changes suggested by the Government of India, headed by the Congress Party.

"States are required to include urban local bodies and rural local bodies in the ambit of the Lokayukta. That is one of the things the bill has done in Gujarat. That is on the suggestion of the Government of India," said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.

"But it is very important suggestion because it is tied to release of funds," she added.

The BJP Government earlier in the day introduced a bill in the Gujarat Assembly, which curtails the 'primacy' of the Chief Justice of the state High Court and the Governor in the matter of appointment of the Lokayukta.

The Lokayukta Aayog Bill, 2013 proposes to give all the powers of the appointment to a selection committee headed by Chief Minister and wants the state Governor to act on the recommendations of this committee.

This new bill comes after the Gujarat Government lost a fight legally and politically when Governor Kamla Beniwal, bypassing the state government, appointed Justice R.A. Mehta as the state Lokayukta, which was upheld by the High Court as well as Supreme Court in January this year.

The Supreme Court had ruled that primacy of the opinion of Chief Justice of the High Court in the Lokayukta Act was final.

The Gujarat government on the one hand filed curative petition against the Supreme Court order, and on the other has brought this bill in the Assembly today. (ANI)

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