Accusing Gujarat government of creating the situation that forced state Lokayukta Justice (retired) R A Mehta to refuse the office, Congress here demanded that Chief Minister Narendra Modi apologise to Governor and request Justice Mehta to change his decision.

After Justice Mehta’s letter withdrawing his consent for appointment as Lokayukta became public, state Congress said in a statement this afternoon that Mr Modi’s government was “suffocating” Constitutional institutions and “murdering” the democratic traditions.

“This government is determined to prevent neutral people from working, and brands them as anti-government. Chief Minister Narendra Modi should apologise to the Governor and should invite Justice Mehta to assume the Lokayukta office,” Gujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhwadia said.

Claiming that there was a “Constitutional break-down” in the state, Mr Modhwadia said in the statement that Parliament should discuss this issue and pass necessary guidelines.

Terming Justice Mehta’s letter as “a slap” for Modi government, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and senior Congressman Shankarsinh Vaghela said, “To save itself from large-scale corruption scandals, BJP government has adopted all kinds of tactics and created such a situation in which Constitutional institutions would suffocate and stop functioning.

“State government has tried its best to pressurise and mentally torture Justice Mehta so that he could not hold the office. If the government has any shame left, it should complete the remaining process of Lokayukta appointments and apologise to the Governor.”

While former Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil said, “It is very difficult to expect morality from the government which had spent more then Rs 45 crore to prevent Lokayukta from assuming office.”