This Article is From Feb 04, 2014

BJP opposes PM's choice in Lokpal selection panel, may take fight to the President

BJP opposes PM's choice in Lokpal selection panel, may take fight to the President

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj has recorded her objection to PM's choice of jurist in the Lokpal selection panel, say sources

New Delhi: The appointment of India's first ever Lokpal has set off a major political confrontation between the Centre and the BJP months ahead of the national election. The main opposition party has objected to the Prime Minister's choice of a jurist for the panel that will select the national anti-corruption ombudsman. The BJP reportedly wants to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, to lodge a formal protest.

Here are the latest updates on this story:

  1. At a meeting on Monday evening, Sushma Swaraj, who is leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, was reportedly outvoted 3-1 on the choice of senior Supreme Court lawyer PP Rao as a member of the Lokpal selection panel.

  2. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh proposed Mr Rao's name, Ms Swaraj reportedly described him as a "Congress loyalist" who had appeared in court for the ruling party several times. Sources said she suggested the names of former attorney general K Parasaran, former solicitor general Harish Salve or even eminent jurist Fali Nariman.

  3. Dr Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Justice HL Dattu, who is Chief Justice P Sathasivam's nominee on the panel, all voted in favour of Mr Rao.

  4. "We're appointing the Lokpal after 40 years, let's do it with unanimity," Ms Swaraj reportedly told the Prime Minister. The BJP has put its dissent on record and called for another meeting to evolve a consensus.

  5. Government sources pointed out that PP Rao has represented not just Kapil Sibal and Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, but has also argued for the BJP, Samajwadi Party, BSP and AIADMK. Mr Rao has reportedly accepted his nomination to the selection committee.

  6. Union minister V Narayanasamy defended the choice of Mr Rao, saying if there is no unanimity, majority is the next step. "Sushma Swaraj's allegations are wild, unsubstantiated and unfortunate. She is disturbed because her choice was shot down," he charged. 

  7. The BJP has accused the Prime Minister of scripting a repeat of the 2011 row over the appointment of PJ Thomas as the Central Vigilance Commissioner despite a corruption case against him. The government remained defiant in the face of opposition anger, until the Supreme Court struck down the appointment.

  8. The Lokpal law provides that the national ombudsman and his team will be selected by a panel comprising the PM, Lok Sabha Speaker, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the Chief Justice of India or his nominee and a fifth member, a jurist, picked by these four.

  9. Constitutional expert Rajiv Dhawan criticised the Centre as he called it "foolish to go by a majority" in this case. "The PM, if he has any wisdom should call a meeting again as there should be consensus," he told NDTV.

  10. The Lokpal law was notified last month after it was passed in both houses of Parliament with cross-party support.The BJP has accused the Congress of trying to credit Rahul Gandhi with pushing the anti-corruption law. Sources say the party has decided to continue its fight over the Lokpal selection panel.

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