Mallikarjun Kharge turns down government invitation to attend Lokpal panel meeting: Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday hit out at the BJP government for not amending the Lokpal Act to include the leader of the single party in the selection process of anti-graft ombudsman. In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kharge refused to attend the Lokpal selection panel meeting, for which he has been invited by the government as a special invitee. The Lokpal selection panel was expected to meet today to begin the process of selecting the country’s first anti-graft ombudsman, in the wake of a direction by the Supreme Court. The apex court had given 10 days to the goverment to pick the dates on which the selection panel would meet to appoint a Lokpal.

Kharge further alleged that the government and the ministers have repeatedly used his refusal to attend the special meetings as a special invitee as an excuse for not appointing country’s first anti-graft ombudsman over the last five years.

In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had won just 44 seats, against a minimum ten per cent of the 543 seats for the designation the Leader of the Opposition. The Lokpal selection panel headed by the prime minister includes Lok Sabha speaker, leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by the chief justice and an eminent jurist.

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