Mallikarjun Kharge Says "No" To Meet Again, After Lokpal Deadline Close

Mallikarjun Kharge Says "No" To Meet Again, After Lokpal Deadline Close

 Mallikarjun Kharge Says "No" To Meet Again, After Lokpal Deadline Close 

New Delhi: Mallikarjun Kharge, the senior leader of the Congress had written to the government for the seventh time, rejecting the offer to be a "Special Invitee" for the selection of the Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman. The centre had then reached out to the senior leader of the Congress after the Supreme Court gave it 10 days to pick the dates on which the selection committee would meet to appoint a Lokpal.

In order to begin the process of choosing a candidate, the selection committee was expected to meet today.
 

Mallikarjun Kharge Says "No" To Meet Again, After Lokpal Deadline Close

"A 'Special Invitee' would not have any rights of participation in the process of selection of the Lokpal and I cannot accept the Opposition being made voiceless in a critical matter," Mallikarjun Kharge wrote in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The senior leader of Congress' non-inclusion in the panel as the leader of the opposition or the leader of the largest opposition party, has been a matter of controversy. Mr Kharge has alleged that the government has been using his refusal to attend the selection committee meeting as an excuse for not appointing a Lokpal over the last five years.

In the last Lok Sabha Election, the Congress had won only 44 seats and failed to make the cut for the designation of the "Leader of the Opposition. Winning a minimum 10 per cent of the 543 seats is necessary for that.  This has triggered a technical problem in the composition of critical panels that are to pick candidates of posts like the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation or the Lokpal.

During the last hearing, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had pointed out the discrepancy, saying "for selecting CBI Director there is an amendment to include the leader of largest opposition party but for Lokpal there is none and he (Mallikarjun Kharge) has been called as a special invitee... That's his grievance."

The senior leader of the Congress has turned down the government six times since February last year, objecting to the "Special invitee" designation.

Mallikarjun Kharge Says "No" To Meet Again, After Lokpal Deadline Close

The Prime Minister, in his letter yesterday had said that, the Congress leader pointed out that "Since 2014, the government has not made any attempt to amend the relevant provisions of the Lokpal Act to include the Leader of the Single Largest Party in the Opposition to be a member of the Selection Committee."

By excluding the opposition, the selection process "is being vitiated and anyone selected through this one sided process may decline to accept this position," he warned.