A bid to settle the Congress-BJP row over appointment of the Gujarat Lokayukta in order to end the stand-off in Parliament has met with strong resistance from Governor Kamla Beniwal as well as state Congress leaders.
Gujarat Congress leaders have conveyed to the Centre that they cannot rollback a big political battle against CM Narendra Modi when they were on the “right side” of the law.They said they were quite serious about the Lokayukta issue and alleged that the BJP protest was just a ploy to avoid appointment of the watchdog because of BS Yeddyurappa’s experience in Karnataka.
Beniwal appointed Justice (retd) RA Mehta without consulting Modi, holding that the state Lokayukta Act only specified that the governor should appoint the Lokayukta in consultation with the chief justice of Gujarat High Court.
But the BJP’s contention is that Justice Mehta is an activist who has often spoken against the Modi government, and is close to local Congress leaders.
Congress MPs and MLAs from the state are scheduled to meet President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday and submit a memorandum countering the BJP’s allegations.
Central leaders, including PM Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, are said to be “not satisfied” with the governor’s action and prefer that the issue be resolved early to allow Parliament to complete legislative business, sources said.
As Parliament remained disrupted for third day, the government and the BJP held behind-the-scene parleys to resolve the row.
On Monday, Parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Bansal and MoS Rajiv Shukla held discussions with leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley who reiterated the BJP’s stand that the appointment must be revoked as it went against the “spirit” of constitutional provisions. The Congress said it would wait for the high court decision on the issue.
“Since the matter is...sub-judice, it would be appropriate to allow us to let it reach its logical conclusion,” said spokesperson Manish Tewari.