Arvind Kejriwal described Bihar government's draft bill on Lokayukta as a 'copy of the much-criticised' Centre's Lokpal Bill
It seems the days are gone when Nitish Kumar was the blue-eyed boy of Anna Hazare. On Wednesday, Team Anna expressed its disappointment over the Bihar government's draft bill on Lokayukta, describing it as a 'copy of the much-criticised Centre's Lokpal bill' which prompted Anna Hazare to go on hunger strike.
Arvind Kejriwal said the team hoped that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had on June 30 promised Team Anna that he will enact a strong Lokayukta law, brings a strong bill on the lines of the one passed by Uttarakhand assembly. He said, "Bihar government's proposed Lokayukta Bill is a copy of the much-criticised Centre's draft against which Anna sat on a fast."
Kejriwal said that as per the proposed bill in Bihar, selection, suspension and removal of Lokayukta will be in government's control and therefore it will not be independent. The draft also says the Lokayukta needs permission from government to investigate and prosecute any government officer and punishment to a complainant if he files a frivolous complaint and punishment for a corrupt officer is the same, six months to five years. As per the draft, corrupt officers will also get free legal aidagainst the complainant.
Bihar cabinet had on Monday decided to seek public opinion on the proposal for effective and strong Lokayukta by November 22 and formed a committee headed by deputy chief minister S K Modi to fine-tune the draft of the Lokayukta Bill, which is proposed to be tabled in the winter session of the state assembly in December.
Last week, Team Anna had praised Uttarakhand Chief Minister BC Khanduri for bringing a strong Lokayukta Bill and Anna Hazare had said that he would honour the chief minister for his bold step.
He had said that the Centre should follow the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill. Welcoming UPA chief Sonia Gandhi's commitment on Lokpal, Kejriwal said that mere speeches would not be enough from the government's side. He said that Team Anna hopes the government would honour her commitment of getting a strong and effective Lokpal Bill during the coming winter session of parliament.
Promises to be kept
With the warning that they will hit the streets again if the government fails to keep its promise, Kejriwal tweeted, "We welcome Gandhi's statement. We hope the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) will keep his assurance and a strong Lokpal Bill will be passed as per 'Sense of House'.