Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu on Friday said his party would oppose the Lokpal Bill when it came up for discussion in the monsoon session of Parliament.
Mr. Naidu told journalists that the draft approved by the Union Cabinet would not serve any purpose as many of the provisions had been diluted and it was aimed at shielding the corrupt. The Centre displayed its insincerity by not bringing the Prime Minister under the Lokpal's ambit, a demand voiced by a cross section of people.
The TDP president disagreed with the view that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's inclusion would create instability. When complaints against Dr. Singh could be entertained after he demitted office, why not when he was in service, he asked.
The Centre appeared scared as at least two former Prime Ministers, Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao, faced corruption charges, the former in the Bofors case and the latter in the Jharkhand Mukthi Morcha MPs' bribery scandal.
Even though Dr. Singh might be honest, he looked the other way when scams such as 2G spectrum allotment came to the fore, citing “compulsions of coalition government.” Irrespective of the other parties' stand, the TDP would continue to demand the Prime Minister's inclusion in the Lok Pal ambit. It would also insist on bringing about political, financial and electoral reforms, particularly relating to funding, to check the menace of corruption, money laundering and stashing away of black money. It would also support subjecting the Chief Minister to the scrutiny of the Lokayukta at the State level.
Mr. Naidu said his party's stand was vindicated with the Karnataka Lokayukta bringing out the large-scale illegal mining of iron ore by firms owned by Karnataka Tourism Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy. The party had consistently highlighted this, but the Andhra Pradesh government did not take any action as Mr. Janardhan Reddy was close to the then Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.