Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge did not attend the Lokpal selection committee meeting on Wednesday, saying the government had still not accommodated him as a full-fledged member, reported PTI. He boycotted the meeting for the sixth time this year.
Kharge wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday and informed him of the decision.
“It is distressing that the government continues to invite me as a special invitee to the selection committee meeting despite being aware of the fact that there is no provision under Section 4 of the Lokpal Act, 2013,” he wrote. “I am once again forced to respectfully decline this invitation until the leader of the single largest Opposition party is conferred the status of a full-fledged member to reflect the spirit of the Lokpal Act, 2013.”
Kharge said the Lokpal panel had approved an amendment to the law to include the leader of the single largest Opposition party as a member of the selection committee but added that the government had never placed this amendment before Parliament.
The Congress leader claimed that the government had never been serious about appointing a Lokpal, and calling him as a “special invitee” was an eyewash. “It shows that there is a concerted effort and also a design to keep an important member of the selection committee out of purview and have overbearing influence on the selection process of appointing the Lokpal,” he said.
Kharge had previously turned down invitations to Lokpal selection meetings on March 1, April 10, July 19, August 21 and September 4.
The selection committee is chaired by the prime minister and comprises the chief justice of India, Lok Sabha Speaker, the leader of the largest Opposition party and an eminent jurist.