With Team Anna and the BJP locking horns over the lokayukta bill drafted by the saffron party’s government in Himachal Pradesh, it seems like the initial bonhomie between the two entities has come to an end.
Prominent Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal termed the anti-graft bill of the state government as “very weak and ineffective”. The government retaliated by cancelling its meeting with the activist.
Kejriwal has asked the BJP whether it had disowned the strong Lokayukta Bill passed by its former government in Uttarakhand earlier this year. “This bill is very weak, ineffective and seeks to provide illegitimate protection to corrupt people — rather than punish them. Instead of adopting the strong model of Uttarakhand, the Himachal Pradesh government has adopted many of the controversial provisions of the central government,” Kejriwal said.
“Does it mean that the BJP is disowning its own Uttarakhand Bill? Does it also mean that the BJP and Congress are on same page on some of the controversial provisions of the Central Bill?” the activist asked. Though Kejriwal said the Himachal government did not provide any reason for the cancellation of the meeting, he confirmed that he had informed them about the bill being “quite bad”.
The BJP hit back, with party leader Balbir Punj saying though Team Anna was entitled to its opinion, “it did not have the monopoly over probity in public life”.
Himachal chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, however, downplayed the differences with Team Anna on the bill. “Team Anna wants the Uttarakhand lokayukta bill to be adopted in toto, but Uttarakhand and Himachal have different perceptions about it, and we are not bound to accept the bill in the same form.”
“We have invited suggestions from all sections of the society, including Team Anna, and the draft bill has been posted on the website for suggestions. The government is not averse to incorporating good suggestions in the bill – including that from Team Anna,” the CM said.