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  Opinion   Edit  03 Mar 2018  Lokpal on backburner

Lokpal on backburner

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 3, 2018, 1:26 am IST
Updated : Mar 3, 2018, 1:26 am IST

There are at least 11 states now without a Lokayukta.

Social activist Aanna Hazare. (Photo: PTI/File)
 Social activist Aanna Hazare. (Photo: PTI/File)

It takes political will to appoint a watchdog like an empowered Lokpal, and political parties just do not have it. It is obvious how this concept of an ombudsman sitting in vigil over government actions and scrutinising complaints of wrongdoing and acting on information from whistleblowers does not gel with those who wield executive power. Having made a song and dance over the Lokpal appointment, and used it as an election plank in 2014 in the wake of the massive public agitation held by Anna Hazare, the ruling BJP has put it on the backburner now for nearly four years. So, its restoration now, as the government nears the last year of its term in office, is clear enough indication that a Lokpal may be created only to fulfil an obligation to an idea to which politicians do not wholly subscribe.  The track record of many states in the matter of a Lokayukta is also indicative of how reluctant politicians are to have someone breathe down their neck. There are at least 11 states now without a Lokayukta.

The Lokpal Bill, after raising considerable heat in Parliament for close to three years, was signed into law on January 1, 2014 by the President, and since then two governments have only paid lip service to complying with its creation. The BJP's experience with the Lokayukta in Karnataka, where its chief minister Yeddyurappa lost his chair, may have added to its reluctance in creating an ombudsman. The main opposition party has been unable to get over the slight it received in the 2014 election results to be able to take part in the committee by right. Reducing the Congress nominee to a special invitee without an active voice in the deliberations, as the government did, was certain to bring about the boycott. Maybe, both the BJP and the Congress are happy not to have a Lokpal in place.

 

Tags: lokpal, anna hazare, yeddyurappa