Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge once again rejected the government’s offer to attend a meeting of the Lokpal Selection Committee on Friday saying that there is no provision for a special invitee attending the meet.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kharge said, “A special invitee would not have rights of participation in process of Lokpal and I cannot accept the opposition being made voiceless in this critical matter”.
This is the seventh time that the Congress leader has decided to boycott meeting of the Lokpal selection panel since February 2018.
In the letter, Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that 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 as a member of the selection committee.
“Since there is no provision under section 4 of the Lokpal Act, 2013, for a special invitee to be a part of the Selection Committee or attend these meetings, I am once again forced to respectfully decline this invitation,” he said.
Kharge, as a leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, was earlier invited to attend the selection panel meetings six times and he has rejected the offers on the same grounds each time.
He also alleged that the government and its ministers have repeatedly used his refusal to attend the meetings as a special invitee as an “excuse for not appointing a Lokpal over the last five years”.
“However, the fact remains that whatever tardy progress the government has made has only been under pressure from the Supreme Court,” Kharge said.
Alleging that “excluding the opposition”, this process is being “vitiated”, the Congress leader said, “I would like to caution the government that anyone selected through this one-sided process may decline to accept this position.”