The Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, today decided not to attend the meeting of the Lokpal Selection Committee slated for tomorrow as a special invitee, the fourth time this year.
Alleging that the process of Lokpal appointment was "vitiated" and accusing the government of "subjugating" Parliament, Kharge, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said he would not be able to attend any meeting of the selection committee until the leader of the single largest opposition party is conferred the status of a full-fledged member.
He alleged that the government was refusing to bring an amendment in the Lokpal Act making the leader of the single-largest party in Lok Sabha as a member of the panel, even after a parliamentary panel made the recommendation.
"It is deeply embarrassing to Parliament that even after the select committee of Parliament has approved the amendment to the Lokpal Act that would enable the leader of the single largest party to be a member of the selection committee, the government refuses to bring this amendment before the house. In a parliamentary democracy, to exclude the voice of the opposition would be to exclude and subjugate Parliament," he said.
"I continue to believe that the process of appointing the Lokpal under such circumstances is vitiated," he said, noting that people of the country are wise enough to see through this insincerity as "special invitee" without rights of participation, recording of opinion or voting is being sent out to the opposition.
"Under these circumstances, I must once again respectfully inform that I would not be able to attend the meeting of the selection committee until 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 in his letter to the prime minister.
He also drew the attention of the prime minister to his three earlier letters, dated February 28, 2018, April 10, 2018 and July 18, 2018, which he had sent in response to previous invitations requesting him to attend the meetings of the Selection Committee held on March 1, 2018, April 10, 2018 and July 19, 2018 respectively, as a "special invitee". -- PTI