Modi gears up for attack on Gujarat Lokayukta appointment

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Narendra Modi
Ahmedabad, Sep 20: After ending his three day long 'Sadbhavana' fast in Gujarat, Chief Minister Narendra Modi seems ready to attack Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal over the controversial appointment of Lokayukta in the state.

Sources said that this would be a political battle for the recall of the governor over her disputatious appointment of Justice (Retd.) R A Mehta as Lokayukta of Gujarat last month without state government's support.

The matter has been listed for hearing in the Gujarat High Court on Sept 21. This could be a green signal from Modi's side for a political war against the old congress leader from Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, the ruling party of Gujarat will hold a mass protest in Ahmedabad on Sept 25, a day ahead of the two day monsoon session of Gujarat assembly where the ruling party will propose a resolution for the recall of the governor and the annulment of the Lokayukta's appointment.

The Modi government has said in a draft that governor has "wrongly appropriated" the function of the duly elected government and her action amounted to a "major subversion" of the federal structure generated in the Constitution of India.

BJP general secretary Vijay Rupani said, "We will not allow Raj Bhavan to be Congress Bhavan. This governor has brought disgrace to the position by playing into the hands of the UPA government."

However, the congress has pointed out that under the provision of State Lokayukta Act, the Chief minister or his council of ministers need not be consulted on Lokayukta's appointment.

The spokesperson for Congress, Abhishek Singhvi said that earlier in Gujarat, the Lokayukta had been appointed between 1986 to 2003 based on one or two names suggested by Chief Justice of High Court. Since 2003, Gujarat has been without a Lokayukta.

He also pointed out that in 2010, Chief Justice had suggested the name of Justice Dave but in the end due to government objection he himself opted out from the post. Again in 2011, the Chief Justice had suggested the name of Justice RA Mehta, for which the Chief minister expressed his objection and asked for another name. But the Chief Justice, after verifying Mehta's status and credential, resumed his name and expressed that he was suitable for the job.

The governor forwarded Chief Justice's letter to the Chief minister's office, but received no reply. Later, governor with due consultation with Chief Justice and leaders of opposition appointed Justice RA Mehta as Lokayukta, Singhvi added.

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