In a major move, the Maharashtra government on Sunday said it has decided to bring a bill to appoint a Lokayukta in the state, with powers to scrutinise the Chief Minister and the entire Cabinet, for a transparency in administration and to eliminate corruption.
Making the announcement at the customary press briefing on the eve of commencement of the Winter session of the Maharashtra legislature, back in the state’s second capital city after a span of three years, from Monday, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said this was following the submission of anti- corruption crusader Anna Hazare’s demand to make the state corruption free.
Shinde said the three-member Lokayukta will be set up, comprising a Chairman of the rank of a Supreme Court Judge or Chief Justice of High Court, while the two members will be on the rank of High Court judges. This was a long pending demand and issue, Fadnavis
A cabinet meeting, held at the Chief Minister’s camp residence under the chairmanship of Shinde, discussed the matter at length and adopted the resolution and the bill will be tabled in the ensuing Assembly session, Fadnavis said.
Shinde avoided a direct question on whether the Act will be retrospective covering all previous Chief Ministers, while Fadnavis said the Prevention of Corruption Act will be incorporated in this Act.
On the Maharashtra-Karnataka border row, Shinde said that it was was taken seriously and both Chief Ministers met Union Home Minister, Amit Shah.
Meanwhile, the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi has decided to corner the Shinde-Fadnavis government on the issues of border dispute that triggered violence in the states, the alleged “insult” of state icons, like Shivaji, Mahatma Fule and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar by Governor B.S. Koshyari and other BJP leaders, the demand for the removal of Governor Koshyari and other key issues of agrarian distress such as inflation, relief for the flood-hit farmers and unemployment, in the session.
Informing this after a meeting with all opposition leaders, Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar said that they have also boycotted the customary tea party hosted by Chief Minister Shinde in protest over these issues by the six-month old government.
“The Opposition will also target the government over big-ticket investment projects preferring other states over Maharashtra and the agrarian distress,” he said.
The opposition will also corner the Shinde-Fadnavis government for allowing mega industrial projects – Vedanta-Foxconn, Tata-Airbus and others – shifting to Gujarat and other states. The state was deprived of huge investment, along with employment opportunities for lakhs of youths for moving such industries to other states, he said.
He said that there would be no compromise on the issue of removal of Koshyari as Governor and all opposition parties would focus on it during the two-week session.