Govt charges BJP with double-speak on Lokpal issue

Government dubbed as "political opportunism and double speak" the BJP`s objection to exclusion of the office of Prime Minister from the ambit of Lokpal.

Last Updated: Aug 04, 2011, 22:55 PM IST

New Delhi: Government on Thursday dubbed as
"political opportunism and double speak" the BJP`s objection
to exclusion of the office of Prime Minister from the ambit of
Lokpal, pointing out that the Lokayukta Act in states ruled by
the party did not cover the chief ministers.

"The statement of the Leader of the Opposition in the
Lok Sabha is a classic example of political opportunism. If
the BJP is so concerned about Lokpal, the states they are in
power would have had a Lokpal," Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal
told reporters here.

Home Minister P Chidambaram said Leader of the
Opposition Sushma Swaraj made the statement objecting to
provisions of the Lokpal Bill to make a political point.

On Swaraj`s argument that Pranab Mukherjee, as
chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, had included
Prime Minister in the ambit of the Lokpal, Chidambaram said
the NDA, which was in power for two years after the report was
submitted, should have got the Bill passed in Parliament.

"Mukherjee had submitted the report of the Standing
Committee on February 16, 2002. The NDA had two years and two
months to get the Bill passed in Parliament. They did not," he
said.

Sibal questioned why there was no Lokayukta in Gujarat
from 2003 to 2011. He said the then Gujarat Chief Minister
Keshubhai Patel had appointed a Lokayukta in the state in 1998
and the term of the ombudsman ended in 2003.

"From 2003 to 2011, there has been no Lokayukta in
Gujarat. If the Leader of the Opposition is so concerned that
the people`s grievances be addressed, the BJP should have
asked the Chief Minister to appoint a Lokayukta," Sibal said.

PTI