New Delhi: The Union Government initiative to seek the opinion of states and Union territories has proved to be a futile exercise as only one state government has answered to the questionnaire on the Lokpal Bill.

Out of the 35 states and Union territories, only the Delhi government has replied to the set of six questions sent by the Joint Drafting Committee headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

While the states with a non-UPA government have vehemently opposed the Centre’s move for a feedback, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has also questioned the Union Government’s decision.

Opposing the idea of constituting the office of Lokpal, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has marked ‘no’ as a response to all the questions. Other Congress-ruled states have used the opportunity to appease their party high command.

A copy of the feedbacks sent by 17 chief ministers to Mukherjee’s letter dated May 31 is in possession with Dainik Jagran.

Congress chief ministers including Jarbom Gamlin of Arunachal Pradesh, Prithviraj Chavan of Maharashtra, Okram Ibobi Singh of Manipur, Digambar Kamat of Goa, Oman Chandy of Kerala, Bhupinder Singh Hooda of Haryana and Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla utilized this opportunity to prove their loyalty to the party and hence replied in a language that appeases the party leadership.
Some of the CMs have been quick to mention that they are dedicated Congress members; therefore they cannot go against the decision of the party high command.

On being asked that all the Congress-ruled states have made a similar response, a senior party member claimed they had received instructions in this regard from the party high command. 

(JPN/ Bureau)