Why oppose appointment of Gujarat Lokayukta, asks Congress

Congress today hit out at Narendra Modi government and BJP alleging that they were "reluctant and double-faced" on the issue of fighting corruption after the apex court dismissed the state's plea challenging Justice (retd) R A Mehta's appointment as Gujarat's Lokayukta.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari saidthat the media should also "look at with a fine-tooth comb and with a microscope" as to why the Chief Minister of Gujarat decided to challenge the appointment of the Lokayukta.

"This shows the double face of BJP. They want Lokpal at the Centre but oppose Lokpal in their party-ruled Gujarat. BJP's doublespeak on corruption is for all to see," Congress spokesperson Rahid Alvi said.

Taking the argument further, Tewari said that the Supreme Court order raises a very fundamental question as to "why the Government of Gujarat is opposing the appointment of the Lokayukta? What is the reason? Why has the Government of Gujarat been so diffident and reluctant in having an oversight mechanism."

Alvi said that he hoped that the Lokayukta in Gujarat begins functioning as early as possible so that "truth in corruption cases may come out before the nation".

In a setback to the Gujarat government, the Supreme Court today upheld the appointment of Justice Mehta as Gujarat's Lokayukta and dismissed its plea challenging Governor Kamla Beniwal's decision to appoint him without consulting the state government.

While noting that the Governor is bound to act under advice of Council of Ministers, the apex court held that the appointment is right as it was done in consultation with the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice.

Tewari said that it is a bit of an "oxymoron" that BJP to which the Gujarat Chief Minister belongs, has never shied away from "crying hoarse" on issues of alleged discretion and corruption across the country but was "shy of even appointing a Lokayukta when its comes to its own backyard".

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