Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 18 :
Several RTI activists and people involved in the anti-corruption movement in Odisha have taken exception to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ‘s ‘silence’ over the recently passed Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014.
While leading RTI activist Pradip Pradhan had shot off a letter to top AAP leader Yogendra Yadav in the matter, another activist, Rajkishore Singh of Cuttack has also openly questioned AAP’s ‘cryptic silence’ over the Bill.
In a release, issued today in the social media, Singh said he was forced to disclose the content of a letter written to Yogendra Yadav on February 15 after he failed to get any reply or response from either Yadav or the AAP.
Following is the text of Singh’s letter of February 15 to Yogendra Yadav, Chief Spokesperson, AAP :
“As a great admirer of what AAP is doing at Delhi I, closely and with great curiosity, followed your speech made at Bhubaneswar on 13th February. As a matter of strange coincidence, while you were addressing the AAP rally the Odisha Lokayukta Bill was being debated in Odisha Legislative Assembly, located only at a stone’s throw from your dais. But you didn’t mention anything about this Bill, let alone call upon your Odisha activists to demand a strong Lokayukta for the State.
“As you might know, the Odisha Bill was passed next day unanimously with the Cong and BJP collaborating with the ruling BJD. But it is a matter of great tragedy that the Bill so passed suffers from a critical lacunae, that is, the Vigilance wing, the chief investigating agency of the State has not been freed from the control of the State Government and it still remains a willing tool in the hands of the State Government as before.
“In this respect the Odisha Bill shows a retrogressive deviation from the Central Lokpal Act, because the said Act has freed the CBI from the control of the Government by providing for the appointment of its Director by a Selection Committee comprising PM, leader of the opposition and CJ of Supreme Court.
“It was expected that the Odisha Bill falling in line with the Central Act would provide for the appointment of Director Vigilance on the recommendation of a 3 member Committee comprising the Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition and CJ Odisha High Court. But the Odisha Bill as passed by the Assembly didn’t provide for any reform in the constitution or functioning of State Directorate of Vigilance.
“As a result, even if the cases of corruption alleged against the Ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats might be referred by the Lokayukta to the Vigilance for investigation, there is little chance of the Vigilance making any impartial probe into such cases especially when the accused are in the good book of the ruling class.
“Thus, due to this grave lacunae in the freshly enacted Odisha Bill, the Odisha Lokayukta law is going to be another paper tiger like its predecessor Orissa Lokpal – and Lokayukta Act 1995 which stands repealed by the present Bill.
“What worried me is not only the conspicuous omission of any reference to Odisha Lokayukta Bill from your Odisha speech made on 13th Feb, but also a prolonged and inexplicable silence on the Odisha Bill among the AAP workers of Odisha.
“Is it a fact that the AAP workers of Odisha are not ready or bold enough to take on the ruling BJD and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the issue of Odisha Lokayukta Bill ?
“As you know, every State in India has its own political peculiarities. In Delhi you might face Congress and BJP as the main enemies of people’s interest. But in Odisha .. are they?
“Here in Odisha, as you might know, BJD has remained in power for last 15 years and is responsible for rampant corruption and mal-governance at all levels, which is the source of harassment of AAM Admi at ground level. However, this party using the Biju legacy and the absence of any strong political adversary, has cunningly maintained its misrule masquerading under an anti-corruption image.
“Now that this party boasts of being the first state in the country to have passed the Lokayukta Bill following the enactment of the Central law, it would further add to its diabolical design to continue its corrupt and mal-governed regime for some more years to come.
“We hope that the AAP- if its local outfit wishes so – at tandem with the national leadership, can make a big dent into current political situation in Odisha by way of exposing and fighting against the corruption and mal-governance of the BJD-led Government.
“And, the first step the AAP should therefore take, is the campaign against the toothless Odisha Lokayukta Bill 2014 and for its amendment so as to free the Vigilance from the clutches of Government and make it an independent and autonomous body reporting to the Lokaukta in respect of its overall administration.
Waiting for a response from your end,
Raj Kishore Singh,”
Mr Singh may be contacted at Choudhury Bazar, Gopaljew Lane, Cuttack-753001, Odisha or over his mobile phone 9338683595 – OST Desk