A major reason behind the BJP’s bumper victory at the Center in 2014 was Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement in Delhi since 2011 and the demand for the establishment of a strong Lokpal. The BJP’s success in converting political anger into the political capital that Arvind Qajriwal and Anna Hazare had pledged against the then UPA government came in the 2014 general elections.
On page number 18 of the BJP’s manifesto released before the 2014 general elections, it is mentioned that in the event of winning, the country will get ‘open government and accountable administration’. It has been written that the BJP will set up an effective Lokpal institution. Corruption of every level will be dealt with strictly and with speed.
Now Narendra Modi’s government is at the last stage of its tenure. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have already started campaigning for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. But till now the Lokpal is like that flower of the Burans for the country, which no one has seen till date.
Vipul Mudgal, director of Common Cause, an organization fighting for the Lokpal, says that the Narendra Modi government has never been serious about giving the country a strong Lokpal. After coming to the government, they kept searching for excuses for the Lokpal not being implemented. When hearing the petition filed by the Common Cause, the Supreme Court last year ordered the Central Government to set up a search committee to appoint the Lokpal. After that, on September 28, 2018, the Central Government formed the Lokpal Search Committee of eight members, that is, after the term of the Modi government was nearly four and a half years, that too after the rebuke of the Supreme Court.
Change In The Intention
Lokpal search committee was formed under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai. The remaining members are Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairman of SBI, A. Surya Prakash, president of Prasar Bharati, Sakharam Singh Yadav, former Justice of Allahabad High Court, ISRO chief AS Kiran Kumar, former Gujarat police chief Shabbir Hussain S. Khandwawala, retired IAS Lalit K. Pawar. And Ranjit Kumar.
It is not that after forming the search committee, there has been a change in the intention of the government and it has become conscious about the Lokpal. It has been almost four months since the Lokpal search committee was formed, but so far all the members of the committee have not been able to meet officially even once. Former Allahabad High Court Justice Sakharam Singh Yadav, a member of the search committee, told Newslaundry,
“The committee members have never met together yet. It has been discussed on the phone a few times. But there is no official committee meeting yet. There is no discussion on the name of anyone for the Lokpal yet, maybe we are going to meet soon. ”
Obviously, the government has formed the committee under the pressure of the court, but its intention regarding the appointment of Lokpal is not clear at all. Not having even an official meeting in four months proves this. The 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be announced in the next one month, after which the future of this committee will automatically fall into uncertainty.
Another senior member of the Lokpal search committee tells Newslaundry on the condition of keeping his name a secret, “Whenever the government makes a committee or commission, some members of the staff provide space for them to work. But we have not been provided any place or people yet. Because of this we have never met together. However, former Justice Ranjana Desai mentioned meeting soon in the conversation held recently. ”
Not only the committee members, but also Attorney General KK Venugopal, who appeared on behalf of the government in the Supreme Court, had said recently that the committee does not have the necessary infrastructure and human resources. Due to this, the search committee is unable to work on the selection of Lokpal. After this, a bench headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi ordered the central government to provide necessary facilities to the search committee.
When senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Common Cause Society in the Supreme Court questioned the work of the search committee, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi advised him to be positive.
Prashant Bhushan also questions the way the Lokpal search committee works. He says, “No one knows what the search committee is doing. There should be transparency on what the committee is deciding. The scale of choosing Lokpal should also be known.
Talking to Prashant Bhushan Newslaundry, he says that the intention of the Modi government is clear that he does not want to make Lokpal. After coming to the government, he deliberately kept avoiding the appointment of Lokpal. After our efforts, when the Supreme Court issued a notice, then a search committee was formed.
Formation Of The Search Committee
Prashant Bhushan further says, “It has been four months since the search committee was formed, but they have not met yet. It is being said that no room has been given to the search committee, no people have been given all this to the government. The way the government is adopting a lax attitude towards the Lokpal for the last five years, it is clear that the government does not intend to bring a strong Lokpal. ”
A member of Lokpal search committee absorbed in Modi-BJP devotion
The Facebook profile of Sakharam Singh Yadav, a member of the search committee to select the Lokpal, which will be the largest institution to investigate corruption of people in political positions, is full of praise of the Modi government and the praise of the BJP.
Sakharam Singh Yadav has shared the video of a Facebook page named Yogi Adityanath on January 11 this year, on which it is written – “Those who oppose Modiji’s foreign visits must see this video, this is Modi ji Amazing, proudly share every Namo supporter. ”