‘Don’t make tainted legislators Madhya Pradesh ministers’

December 16th, 2008 - 6:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, Dec 16 (IANS) A network of over 1,200 civil society groups has urged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh to deny ministerial berths to those legislators who have a criminal background.”All the political parties should take such a step as a gesture of cleansing the government and politics of unsavoury elements,” said Jagdeep S. Chhokar, one of the founder members of the network called Association for Democratic Reforms.

The association has identified 27 legislators against whom criminal cases are pending and has sent their names to senior party leaders, including former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley.

“The list of tainted legislators has been prepared on the basis of the affidavits they have submitted with the Election Commission,” Chhokar told IANS by phone from Delhi.

“We would urge you that in the interest of good, effective and transparent governance, legislators who have criminal cases pending against them should not be appointed ministers in the state government,” said the letter sent to senior BJP leaders.

“By not accommodating such legislators as ministers, the party might send the right message that there is a serious effort by the political establishment to cleanse the governance and politics of unsavoury elements, who give a bad name to the entire political establishment,” the letter added.

But the legislators, whose names figure in the list, describe the association’s effort as “unwarranted”.

“How can registration of a case make someone criminal until it is proven in a court of law?” asked state BJP spokesman Umashankar Gupta.

“It would be unjust to keep any legislator away from the job he deserves to do simply on basis of criminal charges,” Gupta said. But he added that “the BJP had been ensuring that people with a clean image come on the centre stage”.

The list of legislators the association has sent to BJP leaders includes the names of Bhanu Rana, Ramesh Saxena, Nagar Singh Chouhan, Abhay Kumar Mishra, Vishwas Sarang, Ajay Vishnoi, Umashankar Gupta and Girish Gautam.

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