Advani leads BJP protest against Gujarat Lokayukta
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani on Tuesday led party MPs from Gujarat protesting outside Parliament House against the appointment of R A Mehta as Lokayukta by state Governor Kamla Beniwal without consulting the Narendra Modi government and demanded her removal for "bypassing" established norms.
Advani, Haren Pathak and around 15 other BJP MPs from Gujarat protested at the Gandhi statue in Parliament complex against the appointment of R A Mehta as the Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal.
"We are going to meet the President on September 1 or 2 when she returns to the capital. All norms were ignored by the Governor like consultation with the chief minister before the appointment or taking the advice of his Cabinet on the issue. The Lokayukta was appointed by the Governor bypassing all established norms," Advani told media persons.
The MPs shouted slogans against the Governor demanding her recall. Some of them held placards saying, "Dual policy on Gujarat will not be tolerated", "Recall Gujarat governor", "murder of democracy" and "Rajyapal Bhawan has become Congress Bhawan (Governor's House has become Congress Bhawan).
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'It is an attack on the federal structure of the country'
Asked if the BJP would demand Beniwal's removal as Governor, Advani said, "Yes. We are going to meet the President over this."
In reply to another question, the senior BJP leader said, "It is a very serious matter and we condemn it. It is an attack on the federal structure of the country. It has never happened before."
Earlier, BJP gave notices in both Houses of Parliament for suspension of Question Hour to discuss the issue which it claims is violation of Article 163 of the Constitution that states the Governor should act according to the advice of the Council of Ministers.
The notice for suspension of Question Hour in Lok Sabha was given to Speaker Meira Kumar by BJP member Haren Pathak while in the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley submitted the notice to the vice-president.
Was Beniwal right in appointing Lokayukta
Meanwhile, experts say that Beniwal was within her rights to appoint the new Lokayukta.
Clause 3(1) on the appointment of the Lokayukta clearly stated: "For the purpose of conducting investigations in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the Governor shall, by warrant under his hand and seal, appoint a person to be known as Lokayukta."
The conditions the Act laid down for the appointment said, "Provided that the Lokayukta shall be appointed after consultations with the Chief Justice of the high court and except where such appointment is to be made at a time when the Legislative Assembly of the State of Gujarat has been dissolved or a proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution is in operation in the State, after consultation also with the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, of if there be no such Leader, a person elected in this behalf by the members of the Opposition in that House in such manner as the speaker may direct."
Under the Act, the Governor was the "appointing authority" and he or she should consult the Chief Justice of the High Court and the leader of the Opposition of the Assembly, and in the absence of a leader, any representative chosen by the Opposition party for the purpose. The relevant clause did not name the State government at any place.
Image: Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal