Having failed to convince expelled leader Jaswant Singh to step down from the post of chairperson of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, the Bharatiya Janata Party today made a public request to him to quit, arguing that the post belongs to the main opposition party. "Jaswant Singh's view that he will quit only if the Speaker asks him to do so is not right. We are a democratic party. The appointment is made by the Speaker on the recommendation of a party. Since the PAC chairperson post goes to the main opposition, it would be better if he steps down," BJP Deputy Leader in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj said.
PAC members from BJP and its allies had kept away from the first meeting of the committee, convened by Singh today. "He had called the meeting (of PAC) today and we boycotted it," Swaraj said. The senior leader also confirmed that BJP had earlier requested Singh to quit but he had refused. "On August 31, I met Jaswant Singh and requested him personally that though keeping his seniority in mind the post of PAC chairman was offered to him, he should step down as now the situation has changed. He refused. I thought we should wait as he is still angry. But today I am making a public request that he should quit," Swaraj said. When asked what the party strategy would be in case Singh does not resign and whether BJP and its allies would continue to boycott PAC proceedings, Swaraj said, "I am making a request now. The norm is to wait after a request is made. We will wait and see."
This is the first time that the BJP has gone on record on this matter. Swaraj maintained that Singh was appointed by the party and not by the speaker.
Additional Inputs: PTI