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Sack Kodnani: Cong, NCP

Opposition MLAs urged President Pratibha Patil to ask Narendra Modi to dismiss his controversial ministerial colleague Maya Kodnani, an accused in the communal riots that rocked the state in 2002. Aurangzeb Naqshbandi reports.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2009 00:09 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

Stepping up pressure on Gujarat Chief Minister, opposition MLAs on Monday urged President Pratibha Patil to ask Narendra Modi to dismiss his controversial ministerial colleague Maya Kodnani, an accused in the communal riots that rocked the state in 2002.

Sixty members of the Gujarat assembly, led by Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil, also accused Modi of violating constitutional principles by refusing to sack Kodnani who’s been charged by his government — in an affidavit submitted to the Gujarat High Court on February 16 — with leading a mob that killed at least 95 Muslims in Ahmedabad on February 28, 2002.

"The state government, more particularly the CM, has not done anything in the matter, nor is likely to. A situation has, therefore, arisen that the state government is not carrying out its function in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution," they said in a memorandum submitted to the President.

The MLAs — 57 of the Congress and three from the Nationalist Congress Party — also handed over to the President a copy of the affidavit, based on the findings of the Supreme Court-appointed special investigation team.

"We have requested the President to compel the Gujarat Chief Minister to dismiss her (Kodnani) from the ministry. It is impossible to have a fair trial in the case with her continuing as a minister," Gohil told mediapersons after the meeting.

The MLAs urged Patil to intervene and use her discretionary powers, under Articles 355 and 356, to protect democratic values in the state.

"If the Chief Minister fails to discharge his constitutional obligation and retains the accused minister, appropriate action should be taken against him," they said.

The state government, thorough the affidavit, had also sought cancellation of anticipatory bail granted to Kodnani. Being the minister of state for women, child development and higher education, they said there were "ample chances of tampering with prosecution witnesses by way of giving threats".

Asked about the President's response, Gohil said, "She listened to us and seemed very much concerned. It is now up to her to take appropriate action."