Sena-BJP reject new rule in Lokayukta | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Sena-BJP reject new rule in Lokayukta

While the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena extended their support to activist Anna Hazare’s agitation for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal bill, they are opposed to the state government bringing elected representatives of the local bodies under the purview of the Lokayukta.

mumbai Updated: Apr 19, 2011 02:23 IST
Naresh Kamath

While the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena extended their support to activist Anna Hazare’s agitation for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal bill, they are opposed to the state government bringing elected representatives of the local bodies under the purview of the Lokayukta.

If the government has its way, the Lokayukta, an independent organisation investigating charges of corruption and mismanagement in the state machinery, would also take up cases of elected representatives like the mayor, corporators and members of the zilla and nagar parishads.

Taking strong exception to the bill tabled in the Legislative Council on Monday, Divakar Raote, Sena MLC, called it an attempt to malign the political class. “The bill is designed to suggest that all politicians are corrupt and need to be investigated,” said Raote.

Raote claimed that the career of a budding politician who starts from the local bodies would be destroyed if the Lokayukta investigates him due to conspiracy by vested interests.

Similarly, BJP member Shobhatai Phadnavis said politicians were being made scapegoats in the name of providing transparency. “The corporators enjoy no power as all the schemes are designed and implemented by the bureaucrats. It is unfortunate that they are exempted while elected representatives are roped in,” said Phadnavis.

However, the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) combine has supported the bill saying it was being done under the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission. “The central government gives grant based on the performance and hence the bill,” said Fauzia Khan, minister of state for general administration.

She said the state stands to gain Rs1931 crore if it implements the various recommendations of the commission.

According to political observers, the Sena-BJP opposition stems from the fact that it has a well-oiled grassroot network which controls majority of local bodies. Major municipal corporations like Mumbai, Thane and Nashik are controlled by them and provides them with clout as well monetary benefits.

However, activists have condemned the stance adopted by these politicians. “Honest politicians have nothing to fear from the Lokayukta,” said Mayank Gandhi, coordinator, India against corruption, the NGO which fights against corrupt practices.