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INDIA AGANST CORRUPTION, KARNATAKA

30 October 2011 Shri L K Advani, 26, Tughlak Crescent New Delhi 110011 Sub: The BJPs responsibility to fight corruption in Karnataka Dear Shri Advaniji, Welcome to Bengaluru. We are happy that you have chosen 'anti-corruption' as the focus of your yatra, and we wish you success in awakening as many people as possible to the dangers faced by the country because of corruption. At the same time, as you know there is considerable consternation around the nation that the BJP has not done enough to signal its strong opposition to corruption in public life. In particular - and we say this because you are visiting Karnataka now - there is an expectation among the public that the endless string of corruption cases in which the party's ministers and MLAs are accused has gone more or less unpunished by the organisation. We respect the 'presumption of innocence' that the Constitution of India provides to accused persons, and we do not seek to impose a verdict upon the accused through outcry alone. Their innocence and guilt must be judged by due process of law, and we will await the outcomes in that arena. However, for the BJP, this stance is not sufficient. The party, by its actions, must show that it values the expectations of the public to uphold high standards of morality and integrity in the conduct of elected persons. We now therefore call upon you to initiate and steer within the party, the following actions. We are confident that these demands reflect the broad consensus in the nation as to what is needed now. We are also confident that these demands do not in any way seek admission of guilt by any of the party members charged in various cases; we leave that to the courts. a. The BJP must support the upcoming vote on the Lokpal Bill in the winter session of Parliament, and uphold the promises from the 'sense of the House' resolution on 28 Aug as the Bill is passed. b. Advise and ensure that all elected representatives of the party in Karnataka who are charged in either the High Court or the Lokayukta Court resign their seats, and do not re1

INDIA AGANST CORRUPTION, KARNATAKA


contest elections until their innocence is proven (this is a demand we are placing before all parties, not only the BJP). You have yourself set a high precedent for such action in an earlier case, and it is natural that others in your party should maintain this standard. We would welcome a speedy trial for all the accused, to give them an immediate chance to prove their innocence. c. Advise and ensure that the Government takes back the Lokayukta's report on illegal mining in the State, which it had earlier returned to the Lokayukta, and initiate action as recommended in the report now. The report is the result of extensive investigation, and speaks to the very heart of corruption in public offices in the State, and only firm action on its recommendations will signal clear intent from the Government. d. Advise and ensure that the Lokayukta report on irregularities in the functioning of the Public Distribution System is accepted by the Government, and its recommendations acted upon immediately. Corruption hurts the poor more than anyone else, and it is unforgivable that irregularities on a substantial scale have become routine in the PDS, depriving the poorest Indians of the basic entitlements of the food security system. As noted above, we welcome your support for the anti-corruption efforts that millions around the country have now joined. Nonetheless, we are certain that this support will be meaningful - and be seen to be so - only if specific steps to address corruption are taken within the BJP too. Without these steps, the perception will remain that the yatra is a political move against other parties, and not a reflection of your commitment to cleanse the country's public services of corruption. We hope your stay in Bangalore is memorable. The largest protests in South India against corruption were held at Freedom Park, once the lodgings of those who - like yourself - stood up for the rights of the people against the excesses of Government. We hope this visit to the city too will leave behind a similarly uplifting memory for future Bangaloreans. Sincerely,

INDIA AGAINST CORRUPTION, KARNATAKA Bangalore