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HP govt official cancels meeting with Kejriwal

Last Updated: Monday, April 2, 2012 - 10:51

New Delhi: Apparently upset over the critical
comments on state Lokayukta Bill, Himachal Pradesh government
on Monday cancelled a meeting with Team Anna member Arvind
Kejriwal, who attacked BJP saying it appeared the saffron
party and Congress were on the same page on the legislation.

Kejriwal described the Himachal`s Lokayukta Bill as "very
weak and ineffective" and also asked whether BJP was disowning
the "strong" law passed by a BJP-led government in Uttarakhand
earlier this year by bringing such a bill in the state.

"The Bill is very weak, ineffective and seeks to provide
illegitimate protection to corrupt people rather than punish
them. Rather than adopt the strong model of Uttarkhand,
Himachal government has adopted many of the controversial
provisions of central government. This is unfortunate.

"Does it mean that BJP disowns its own Uttarakhand Bill?
Does it also mean BJP and Congress are on same page on some of
the controversial provisions of central bill?" Kejriwal said.

His reaction came as Himachal Pradesh government
cancelled a function scheduled here this morning to present a
copy of the Lokayukta Bill to the activist.

PC Dhiman, Principal Secretary (Home) was to present a
copy of the Lokayukta Bill to Kejriwal. A senior government
official did not give reasons for the cancellation but claimed
that the programme is rescheduled and it will be held in a
couple of days.

A Team Anna member claimed Kejriwal was informed about
the cancellation of the function this morning.

Kejriwal said that no reason was given to him for
cancellation of the event. "They just asked me to send a
written response when I told them that the Bill was quite
bad," Kejriwal said.

The Himachal government`s press liaison office had last
week sent invitations to media houses regarding the function.

Chief Minister PK Dhumal is understood to have cleared
consultations with Team Anna earlier. He had repeatedly said
the government would bring a strong Lokayukta Bill after
consulting all concerned, including Team Anna members.

However, Dhumal had earlier attacked Kejriwal saying the
activist cannot "dictate terms".

Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, had
last week led the attack against Team Anna by taking strong
objection to the language used by the activists against
Parliament and MPs.

She had said that by speaking against democratic
institutions, the civil society members were indirectly
inviting dictatorship.

Swaraj was of the view that Team Anna has "lost direction"
as while on the one hand, it wants the Lokpal Bill to be
cleared by Parliament and on the other, it was insulting MPs
by making uncivilised statements.

Reacting to MPs being reportedly termed as "looters",
"corrupt" and "rapists" by Kejriwal, she said if such was the
case then why did it send three of its demands to be
incorporated in a resolution passed by Parliament.

Swaraj recalled that BJP, along with other opposition
parties, had supported Anna Hazare`s demand for a strong
Lokpal Bill and had even slammed the government for brining a
"weak" legislation.


First Published: Monday, April 2, 2012 - 10:51

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