Logjam grows, states against overarching lokpal ambit
Not just central ministers, even some state chief ministers are averse to having a Lokpal to investigate all cases of corruption, as being demanded by civil society. Chetan Chauhan reports. Quote unquoteUpdated: Jun 10, 2011, 01:39 IST
Not just Central ministers, even some state chief ministers are averse to having a lokpal to investigate all cases of corruption as being demanded by civil society.
Two chief ministers - Sheila Dikshit of Delhi and Ibobi Singh of Manipur - have out-rightly rejected the idea of an overarching lokpal.Others such as Narendra Modi of Gujarat and Nitish Kumar of Bihar expressed anguish at the haste in which their opinions have been sought.
Finance minister Pranab Mukerjee, who is also the chairperson of lokpal's joint drafting panel, had sought comments of all political parties and chief ministers on six issues of difference with the civil society members of the committee on May 31.
These included inclusion of PM, higher judiciary, senior government officials and MPs in the ambit of lokpal.
Dikshit was most categorical among all the chief ministers in rejecting the lokpal and termed many proposals of the civil society led by Gandhian Anna Hazare as "unconstitutional".
"My government strongly believed that rather than creating institutions which are unaccountable and adversely affecting the checks and balances already visualised in the Constitution, it is advisable that the existing institutions are further strengthened," Dikshit, said in a letter to Mukerjee.
Manipur CM Singh, who discussed the possible framework of lokpal bill with his cabinet colleagues, agreed that PM and higher judiciary should not be investigated by higher authority like the lokpal. He even said the conduct of MPs should remain outside its ambit.
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot said the lokpal will disturb the anatomy of Indian polity. Other Congress CMs said they will toe the party line.
Nitish Kumar and Narender Modi were on same page while questioning the Centre on seeking their comments in a hurried manner.
"In a federal structure, consultation between Centre and states should be a serious affair and not a mere consultation on limited issues which is a matter of compulsion for the Centre," Modi said.
Kumar expressed surprise that the response of the chief ministers was being sought in such a "casual" and "hurried" manner.
CPI's AB Bardhan went to the extent of saying that none of the political parties were consulted before constituting the joint drafting committee, a view also expressed by BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
Both said they will place their views once the bill is introduced in Parliament.