In Letter To The PM, Congress Leader Mallikarjun Kharge Rejects 'Special Invite' To Lokpal Meeting

| March 1 , 2018 , 13:11 IST

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, declined to attend the meeting of the Selection Committee for Lokpal appointment as a 'special invitee'.

In the letter, the leader of the Indian National Congress in the Lok Sabha, Kharge alleged that the invitation issued to him as a 'special invitee' was a 'concerted effort' to exclude the voice of the Opposition in the Lokpal selection.

“A special invitee invitation is a concerted effort to exclude the independent voice of the opposition altogether from the selection process of the most important anti- corruption watchdog,” Kharge said in the letter to PM Modi.

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"My mere presence as special invitee without rights of participation, recording of my opinion and voting would be a mere eyewash ostensibly aimed at showcasing the participation of the opposition in the selection process," he continued.

"In these circumstances, I must decline the invite as special invitee to uphold the inviolability of the Lokpal Act 2013 as the current proceedings have reduced a sacred procedure to a political presence,” Kharge said in the letter.

According to the Lokpal Act, only the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha is a member of the Selection Committee, but currently, the position of Leader of Opposition is vacant in the Lok Sabha.

The Lokpal Bill was passed by Lok Sabha in December 2011 after extensive protests demanding the anti-corruption legislation, especially the hunger strike carried out by social activist Anna Hazare. However, 7 years later the Bill, which calls for setting up an independent body to investigate corruption cases is yet to be finalised.