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  India   All India  11 Apr 2018  Congress boycotts Lokpal panel meeting again

Congress boycotts Lokpal panel meeting again

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Apr 11, 2018, 2:09 am IST
Updated : Apr 11, 2018, 2:09 am IST

Mr Kharge alleged that Mr Modi’s government has not accorded priority and importance to the Lokpal issue and its “double standards” stand exposed.

Mallikarjun Kharge
 Mallikarjun Kharge

New Delhi: Contending that he was invited by the government as a “special invitee” with the intention of excluding the opinion of the Opposition, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday once again boycotted the meeting of the Lokpal selection committee.

Mr Kharge, who is the leader of the Congress Party in Lok Sabha but has not been designated as Leader of the Opposition due to a limited strength of the party in the Lower House, shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi declining the offer to attend the meeting as a “special invitee”.

As per the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013, only the leader of the Opposition (LOP) in Lok Sabha can be a member of the selection committee and since Mr Kharge does not have that status, he is not a part of the panel. A party should have at least 55 seats or 10 per cent of the strength of Lok Sabha for its leader to get the LOP status. The Congress has 51 MPs in Lok Sabha.

Mr Kharge had on March 1 written a similar letter to the Prime Minis-ter while boycotting the earlier meeting of the Lokpal selection committee as a “special invitee”.

Mr Kharge alleged that Mr Modi’s government has not accorded priority and importance to the Lokpal issue and its “double standards” stand exposed.

“Inviting the leader of single largest opposition party as a ‘special invitee’ is done with the singular intention of excluding the opinion of the Opposition from the selection process of Lokpal,” wrote Mr Kharge.

He said that the government is aware that there is no provision in the Act for a “special invitee” without rights of participation, recording of opinion and voting in the procedure. “The invitation given to me is only to mislead the nation rather than sincerely seeking the participation and opinion of the Opposition,” he said.

“If the government is, indeed, serious about ensuring that the Lokpal is appointed with the sanctity it deserves, I would once again suggest that the government bring in the necessary amendment by way of an ordinance to include the voice of the Opposition in this process,” he said.

“Under these circumstances, I must once again respectfully decline the invite as ‘special invitee’ to prevent any dilution of the letter and spirit of the Lokpal Act, 2013,” Mr Kharge said in his letter.

Mr Kharge said that people should know that the government has wasted four precious years in the fight against corruption by not amending the Lokpal Act.

He said the current exercise is merely a perfunctory gesture to satisfy the Supreme Court.

Tags: opposition, lokpal, mallikarjun kharge, prime minister narendra modi