Left questions Mamata on vacant Lokayukta post

Kolkata, Jan 3 (IANS) As West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee bats for the states’ prerogative to appoint Lokayuktas, the opposition Left Tuesday questioned her on the new government’s lack of initiative to fill up the vacant post of state ombudsman.

‘She is saying lot of things about Lokpal and Lokayukta we know that. It is really astonishing that they supported the Lokpal bill in Lok Sabha and took a different stand in Rajya Sabha. The Congress has deliberately stopped the bill and they (Trinamool) are party to that ploy,’ Leader of Opposition Surya Kant Mishra told media persons here.

‘We had earlier told them that the Lokpal bill be given constitutional status but it was not given so that the bill becomes ineffective. During our tenure, we had constituted Lokayukta in the state but the post is lying vacant now. So many retired justices are heading so many enquiry commissions but the state government is not getting a retired justice to head Lokayukta of the state,’ he said.

‘If she had really wanted a Lokayukta for the state under the federal structure of the state then why is she not implementing the law? The Lokayukta we had formed during the Left Front regime also covered the chief minister of the state. She could have used it, improved it further but she did nothing,’ Mishra added.

Banerjee’s party Trinamool – an important ally of Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) – had opposed the Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha by stating that it feared that the states will lose their federal autonomy.

Banerjee Tuesday had advocated that state ombudsman should remain a prerogative of the states.

West Bengal’s first and only Lokayukta till date Samaresh Bandopadhyay was appointed Feb 1, 2006, and completed his tenure Feb 16, 2009. Since then the post has been lying vacant.