Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said he did not agree with the Maharashtra government’s decision to reject the probe report on the Adarsh scam.
“Personally, I don't agree with that decision. They (Maharashtra) should reconsider that,” Gandhi said in New Delhi at a press conference.
This is the second instance of Gandhi jolting his party in this manner. In September, he had trashed a controversial ordinance designed to protect convicted lawmakers from disqualification, describing it as “complete nonsense”. After five days, the government had withdrawn the ordinance.
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was present at the press conference at the AICC headquarters on Friday, said, “I will consult my colleagues.”
Last week, the Chavan government had rejected the report of a two-member judicial commission on the Adarsh scam, in which some senior Congress leaders are under the scanner.
“There is no question of protecting anybody...They should reconsider,” Gandhi said.
The report of the commission headed by retired high court judge JA Patil came down heavily on Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and former chief minister Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar, both Congress leaders, for showing “undue haste” in allotting the plot.
The report described the scam as a “bad precedent” which reflected “greed, nepotism and favouritism” by those associated with it.
Gandhi’s assertion came while he was talking about the Congress’ determination to fight corruption — an issue that has taken the centre stage in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, especially after anti-graft activist Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party made a dream debut in the Delhi assembly elections.
Gandhi chaired a meeting of Congress chief ministers and said a decision had been taken that all states ruled by the party will enact Lokayuktas modelled on the Lokpal Act by February 28 next year. He had come out strongly in support of the anti-graft legislation two weeks ago, appeasing activist Anna Hazare.
Gandhi's disapproval of the Maharashtra government on Adarsh came close on the heels of Union minister Milind Deora saying the matter should be investigated instead of being hushed up.
Asserting that corruption could not be defeated only by the Lokpal Act, Gandhi said a proper framework was required to be put in place for which a number of legislations were needed.
In this context, he attacked BJP for blocking passage of these legislations. “These days, we hear big talk about fighting corruption... We hear again and again and again and again about corruption. But there is no action,” Gandhi said.
Pointing out that a number of bills are pending in Parliament, he added, “We want a framework...But we are blocked in Parliament. If they (opposition) are serious, let's stop talking and start acting.”