Anna optimistic, but lokayuktas fail in states

Sumit Pande | Updated: April 12, 2011, 10:13 PM IST

Ahmedabad: The people's hero Anna Hazare caught in further political cross fire over his praise for Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumars style of governance specifically because states like Gujarat have had no Lokayukta for the last nine years.

"Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar are two chief ministers who have performed well," said Anna Hazare.

Ironically though, Gujarat, unlike many other states in the Union, does not have a Lokayokta. The state enacted a law to appoint an anti-corruption watchdog in 1986, but since 2003, the post remains vacant.

"Narendra Modi fears the ombudsman," said Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) President Arjun Modhwadia.

But the Narendra Modi government blamed the Congress for the Lokayukta issue.

"It is because of the non-corporation of the Congress that we have not been able to appoint," said Gujarat government Spokesperson Jai Narayan Vyas.

Many states have appointed their respective lokayukts, but most are either thoothless tigers or defunct.

Andhra Pradesh appointed its first Lokayukta in 1984, but has not taken up any major corruption since its inception.

While Punjab, Haryana and Himanchal all have lokayuktas perceived to be defunt, Madhya Pradesh Lokayukta has cases pending against seven ministers, but they have not been named.

Karnataka Lokayokta Santosh Hegde, probing graft cases against Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and cabinet ministers resigned after repeated political interference.

"The problem we face is in the non-corporation of the state governments," said Santosh Hegde.

While the centre prepares to install its ombudsman in consultation with the civil society, the success of Lokpal Bill will depend as much on its implementation as on the enactment itself.

First Published: April 12, 2011, 10:13 PM IST

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