Kharge again, for fifth time, declines to attend Lokpal selection panel meet
New Delhi : Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge again -- for the fifth time this year -- declined to attend the Tuesday meeting of a committee to select the Lokpal, saying he wouldn't do so until he gets the status of a full-fledged member instead of a 'Special Invitee'.
In a letter, his fifth, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 2, Khage said: "The government continues to invite me as a special invitee to the Selection Committee despite being aware of the fact that there is no provision under section 4 of the Lokpal Act, 2013."
Kharge wrote to the Prime Minister on February 28, April 10, July 18 and August 18 this year.
"Accepting this invitation to attend as a 'Special Invitee' without rights of participation, recording of opinion and voting in the procedure would be violative of both the letter and spirit of the Lokpal Act," the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha said in his September 2 letter.
"I am therefore, forced, once again to respectfully decline the invitation to attend the meeting of the Selection Committee untill the Leader of Single Largest Opposition party is conferred the status of a full-fledged member as envisioned in the Lokpal Act, 2013," he said.
Kharge said he was aware that the government was using the opportunity to spread a canard that the opposition was not cooperating in implementing the Lokpal Act despite the fact that the government itself maintained that he was not a member of the selection committee.
"The very fact that the government was forced to act by the Supreme Court indicates the lack of seriousness and sincerity of the government in implementing the Lokpal Act," he added.