M A I N   N E W S

Gujarat Lokayukta
BJP, Cong slug it out 
Faraz Ahmad/TNS

New Delhi, September 2
Stalling the Rajya Sabha, the BJP leaders marched to the Rashtrapati Bhawan today, demanding the recall of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal for appointing Justice RA Mehta the state Lokayukta, without consulting Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

But President Pratibha Patil expressed her inability, reminding BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley that the mater was sub judice.

This has sparked off a slanging match between the Congress and the BJP, with Gujarat Congress leaders trooping down to Delhi to support Governor Beniwal’s initiative. Gujarat Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil said, “The Lokayukta Act does not stipulate you any authority or power to consult or confer regarding the Lokayukta appointment.”

Curiously the BJP memorandum to the President also acknowledged that “under Section 3(1) of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, the Governor can appoint a Lokayukta in consultation with the Chief Justice of the high court and in consultation with the Leader of Opposition,” but it insisted that this did not imply precluding the Chief Minister from any consultations.

The memo maintained that “the Governor has taken the decision to appoint Justice RA Mehta as the Lokayukta without the aid and advice of the elected government of the state and “this exercise of power by the Governor is a gross violation of Article 163 of the Constitution”.

But Congress leaders reminded the BJP that it was the BJP, then in Opposition, that had pressed for excluding the Chief Minister from any consultations on the Lokayukta. Meanwhile, Law Minister Salman Khursheed has ruled out recalling the Gujarat Governor. He said, “Why should we recall her? It is a matter before the high court which will take a view.”

Oppn hampering work: Govt

As the two Houses of Parliament saw repeated disruptions yet again today, a stung government came out to accuse the BJP-led opposition of deliberately storming proceedings to hamper work.

“Due to the obstructionist attitude of the Opposition, we have not been able to take up major legislations. Out of 21 sittings we have had so far, no work could be executed on 13,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.





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