Third in a row! Mallikarjun Kharge turns down PM Modi’s invite for Lokpal Selection Committee meet again

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New Delhi | Updated: July 19, 2018 5:20:01 PM

Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge has once again turned down Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to attend the Lokpal selection committee meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Mallikarjun Kharge, Lokpal Act, Lokpal Selection Committee, Narendra ModiThird in a row! Mallikarjun Kharge turns down PM Modi’s invite for Lokpal Selection Committee meet again

Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge has once again turned down Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to attend the Lokpal selection committee meeting scheduled for Thursday. In a letter sent to the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament, Kharge pointed out that he has decided not to attend the meeting because the invitation was extended to him as a ‘special invitee’.

“I would not be able to attend the meeting of the Selection Committee on 19th July until the Leader of Single Largest Opposition party is conferred the status of a full-fledged member as envisioned in the Lokpal Act, 2013,” his letter reads.

This is the third time Kharge has turned down the PM’s invitation for such a meet. The first time he had refused to attend the meet was on March 1 and second on April 10. Conveying his reservations, Kharge had written letters to the Prime Minister to lodge his disappointment at both these occasions. In today’s letter, the Congress leaders expressed unhappiness that his previous communications were not even ‘acknowledged’ by the PM.

Kharge noted that the Lokpal selection committee has approved an amendment to the Lokapl Act to include the Leader of the single largest party as a member of the committee. “The amendment has not been made by the Modi government,” he said.

As of now, there is no Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha given the fact that Congress has just 48 MPs. As per the rules, a party should have minimum 10% of members of the total strength of the House to enable the Speaker to recognise someone as the Leader of the Opposition.

The Lokpal Act is yet to be amended to include the Leader of the single largest party as the member of the Selection Committee, therefore, the invitation was extended to Karge as a ‘special invitee’. Other members in the committee include the Speaker, CJI or a sitting judge nominated by the CJI.

Kharge’s refusal of the Centre’s invite came after the government informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the committee is slated to meet on Thursday to set up a search panel to look for the anti-graft ombudsman. The panel would be tasked to recommend the names to the committee for appointing the Lokpal.

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