Enact laws to carry out reforms in elections, land: Karat

The Left parties on Friday demanded a strong and effective Lokpal but emphasised that creation of an ombudsman to tackle corruption would need to be reinforced by laws and reforms in other areas.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat, at a joint rally here, described the UPA government as the “most corrupt” regime in independent India, with a scam surfacing every passing day.

He said that in order to check corruption, the country must enact laws to carry out reforms in elections, land and in the corporate sector. “We need a strong Lokpal. But one single Lokpal will not help us in the fight corruption,'' he said.

Mr. Karat said the draft Bill introduced by the government did not contain any provision to check the corrupt practices of the corporate sector or covering the entire bureaucracy under the institution of the Lokpal.

In addition, he said, the Lokpal would not be able to tackle the issue of land acquisition, which was needed considering that the government was acquiring thousands of acres.

Amid suggestions by social activist Anna Hazare on the ‘right to recall' MPs, Mr. Karat said electoral reforms should focus on how to take care of the influence of money power in elections. “It is not the right to recall, but first it should be ending corrupt practices in elections that should be our aim.''

As to tackle corrupt practices by those in the corporate sector, Mr. Karat said the Lokpal should also have provisions to blacklist corporates that indulged in such practices.

Echoing similar views, CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said the genesis of corruption were the economic policies of liberalisation pursued by successive governments since 1991.

All India Forward Block leader Debabrata Biswas said the fight against corruption was a long drawn one and would not conclude with the passage of a Lokpal Bill.

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