Kharge again declines to attend Lokpal meet; says oppn can't be 'voiceless'

New Delhi: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday rejected to attend the Lokpal Selection Committee meeting for the seventh time since February last year.

In a letter to PM, he 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 of the selection of the anti-corruption ombudsman.”

Kharge also mentioned that the BJP government in the past five years could have amended the Lokpal Act but used his refusal to attend as a special invitee as an excuse for not appointing the Lokpal.

However, Kharge also alleged that the government’s intentions were to exclude the opposition from this crucial process as the meeting was scheduled and formed a committee by shortlisting the names.

He also noted that nothing stops the government from appointing the Lokpal even in the absence of the leader of the opposition and Section 4(2) of the Lokpal Act.

“Since 2014, the government has not made any attempts 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 committee,” Kharge said.

By excluding the opposition, the selection process is being vitiated and anyone selected through this one-sided process may decline to accept this position, Kharge stated.

This comes after a Supreme Court direction to the Centre on March 7 granting 10 days to inform it about the possible dates when the selection panel will meet for the appointment of the country’s first Lokpal.

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