Mallikarjun Kharge received a ‘special invite’ as Congress’ leader to attend the Lokpal Selection Meet which was held on 1st March and was chaired by the Prime Minister himself. The leader refused to attend it because he believed wanted to thwart the voice of the opposition on the matter.
He responded to the invite in a letter to the Prime Minister. As per the Lokpal Act, only the leader of the opposition is part of the selection committee, Kharge is not the leader of the opposition and ergo not part of the selection committee. He said the only objective of inviting him was to show the participation of the opposition without really giving them an option. He said the Lokpal meet was reduced from a sacred procedure to a political presence.
He also said the government was making amendments in other acts to reduce the ‘leader of the opposition’ to the ‘leader of the single largest party’ in opposition but it had not made this change in the Lokpal Act. He insisted that he was the voice of the opposition and not just Congress, and in that sense, the meeting would be a meer showcase without giving him the right to participation. Kharge made it clear that if the government was serious about appointing an anti-corruption watchdog it would have to amend the bill in the manner he attached with his letter as a case in point.
While Kharge makes a good argument, by not going he is proving the BJP’s point right, he wouldn’t even be there when the appointment happens and this would mean the voice of the opposition doesn’t even exist. If he sees himself as a leader of the opposition then he also had a duty to do with regard to that rule. Not all battles are won by silence, Congress has to learn.