HEADLINES:
January 22 2019
Stalin faces flak for skipping meet
29 December 2018

Say his move only undermines his role as the Opposition leader to scrutinise the govt.

The decision of DMK president and Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin to boycott the first meeting of the Lokayukta Selection Committee at the Secretariat on Friday has not gone down well with anti-corruption activists.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the chairperson of the three-member panel, held the meeting with Assembly Speaker P. Dhanapal, who is also among its members.

Mr. Stalin, a member of the committee by virtue of his ex-officio post, stayed away from the meeting, contending that the Chief Minister was facing corruption charges himself, and was hence not a competent authority to choose the office-bearers of the Lokayukta Search Committee.

Further, he said the Speaker was a “ruling party man” and would go with whatever decision the CM took.

Composition of panel

But anti-corruption activists said such boycotts by the Leader of the Opposition only undermined his role in scrutinising the State government.

Jayaram Venkatesan, convenor of Arappor Iyakkam, conceded that the present Lokayukta selection panel had State government representatives in the majority.

“In most States, the Chief Justice of the respective High Court is part of the committee. But in Tamil Nadu, the Chief Justice has not been included,” he said. “Having said that, I think the Leader of the Opposition should still take part in the meeting to raise any objections he might have with the State government. Participation in the democratic process is important,” he added.

“Opposition parties have a role in democracy, and people send them to question the State government,” said Siva Elango, State president of Satta Panchayat Iyakkam. Rejecting the contention that the State government would eventually have its way despite any opposition from the DMK, he said, “What about the Assembly then? There too, the State government is in the majority. People have elected the Opposition party to question the government’s misdeeds.”

However, DMK spokesperson J. Constantine Ravindran said participation in such meetings had a “reverse effect”. “We have a government unwilling to listen to and accept the contentions we make in such meetings. Later on, when we raise various issues in relation to the subject, the government will say ‘You too were in the meeting’, without acknowledging what we had objected to,” he contended.

 

 

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