Congress Leader Refuses to Attend Meeting to Appoint Lokpal

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi

A Congress leader and Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) Mallikarjun Kharge today declined to attend a meeting to select the Lokpal, the top anti-corruption ombudsman in India.

The government had asked Kharge to participate in the meeting as a “special invitee” and not as a leader of opposition. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kharge indicated that it is only an eyewash exercise because the Modi government did not show any interest in the past over 3 years to appoint Lokpal.

“Leader of opposition cannot be substituted as a special invitee,” Kharge wrote in his letter. “It is a matter of surprise that your government is choosing to adopt this route as a mere paper formality rather than seek any meaningful and constructive participation.”

[ India Slips from 79 to 81 Rank on Corruption Perceptions Index ]

Kharge said the meeting was only to satisfy the order dated February 23, 2018 of the Supreme Court regarding the appointment of Lokpal. However, Kharge said, the conduct of the government seeks to diminish the spirit and objective of appointment of Lokpal in as much as you seek to deny participation, voice and opinion of the opposition.

He suggested that if the Modi government is serious about the appointment of Lokpal, it should bring an ordinance in the March session of parliament in order to amend the Lokpal Act.

The amendment, according to Kharge, should state that in the absence of a recognized leader of the opposition, the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha should be included in the selection panel to appoint the Lokpal.

Photo courtesy: Press Information Bureau

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Rakesh Raman