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Mallikarjun Kharge Shoots Off Letter to PM Narendra Modi, Refuses to Attend Lokpal Selection Meet as 'Special Invitee'

Mallikarjun Kharge has accused the Modi government of extending an invite to attend the meeting as a mere formality.

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Updated:March 1, 2018, 1:09 PM IST
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Mallikarjun Kharge Shoots Off Letter to PM Narendra Modi, Refuses to Attend Lokpal Selection Meet as 'Special Invitee'
File photo of Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. (PTI)
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New Delhi: Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has refused to attend the meeting of the Lokpal selection committee on Thursday as a special invitee.

The committee to appoint the anti-corruption watchdog includes the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha speaker and the leader of the single-largest party in the lower house, a position held by Kharge at present.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Kharge accused the government of extending an invite as a mere formality as someone “without any rights to participation, recording any opinion and voting ostensibly aimed at showcasing the participation of the opposition in the selection process”.

In the letter, Kharge accused the government of excluding the “independent voice of the opposition”, as it negates the intent of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill, 2013.

With the Congress winning less than the stipulated 10% of the seats in the 2014 general election, the party leader in the Lok Sabha was recognised as the Leader of Opposition. The Lokpal statute was later altered and the phrase ‘Leader of Opposition’ altered to ‘leader of the single largest party in the Lok Sabha’.

The special invitee statutes under the changed circumstances, Kharge alleges, is being done in view of the Supreme Court order last month, but denies “participation, voice and opinion” to the opposition.
| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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