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Manish Tewari Quits Lokpal Panel, BJP Inducts Two Members

PTI 31 Aug 2011, 18:28:23 IST
PTI

New Delhi, Aug 31: Under attack for his comments on Anna Hazare, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari today opted out of the Parliamentary Standing Committee going into the Lokpal issue even as BJP inducted two new members in the panel being reconstituted after its term ended today. 

Tewari, who had kicked up a controversy by accusing Anna Hazare of being “steeped in corruption from head to toe” but later apologised, opted out citing media reports that some people have objected to his continuance in the Committee. 

“I am all for a strong and effective Lokpal. I heard some people objecting to my presence in the Committee. I do not want any controversy to cast a shadow on the deliberations of this important bill. I therefore recuse myself from the Standing Committee,” Tewari told PTI.

The BJP has retained Haren Pathak and D B Chandre Gowda and has brought in Kirti Azad and Arjun Ram Meghwal, all four from Lok Sabha.

Party sources said Ram Jethmalani and Bal Apte, who were earlier also members of the Committee, will continue.  Jethmalani was earlier on the panel as a nominated member. 

The earlier two BJP members Jyoti Dhurve and Devji M Patel do not find a place in the new committee while Lok Sabha member Khagen Das will represent CPI-M on the panel.  There could be many more changes in the membership of the Committee from other parties as well.

Samajwadi Party had nominated Amar Singh as a member of the Committee last time. Singh is no longer a party member.  There is no immediate word from the party on whom it is going to nominate for the Committee, but Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi, who is heading the Committee is likely to continue as Chairman.

Singhvi had taken over as the committee's Chairman only about two months back replacing Jayanthi Natarajan, who was made a minister.

Singhvi expressed ignorance about the members to be renominated saying, “It is for the political parties concerned and the Presiding Officers of both Houses to decide” and as Chairman of the Committee, he has no role in appointment of members or reconstitution of the committee.  He also declined to comment on the recusal of his party colleague Manish Tewari from the 31-member committee saying he was not aware of the development.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad, LJP President Ram Vilas Paswan, BJP leaders Bal Apte, Harin Pathak and independent member Amar Singh as also senior advocates Ram Jethmalani of BJP and Vijay Bahadur Singh of BSP are part of the outgoing committee.

The next meeting of the Committee to examine the Lokpal Bill is slated for September 7. Anna Hazare and his team have already met the committee. Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan also had an informal chat with Singhvi last evening. PTI