A day after Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge expressed his dissent over the selection of Rishi Kumar Shukla as the new CBI chief, Union Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Congress leader of “dissenting regularly.” In a blog post titled ‘Has Mr Kharge brought down the value of dissent?’, the Finance Minister said Kharge’s dissent is “coloured by his political views.”
Mallikarjun Kharge was the lone dissenter in the Prime Minister-headed selection panel that removed Alok Verma as the CBI chief. Kharge also expressed reservations over Shukla’s appointment to the top post, citing “lack of experience in investigating anti-corruption cases.”
Taking a jibe at Kharge, Jaitley wrote: “The only thing constant in the High Powered Committee comprising of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition which deals with the CBI Director’s appointment and transfer, is the Kharge dissent.”
Jaitley also accused Kharge of making the CBI chief’s appointment a “political battle.” “Mr Kharge’s dissent in the matter of the transfer of Alok Verma was coloured by his political views. He was a petitioner in the Supreme Court himself in support of Alok Verma. He should have recused himself from the Committee since his views were known,” Jaitley wrote, accusing him of having a “bias and conflict of interest.”
Calling dissent “a powerful instrument in democracy”, Jaitley said it should “never be a political tool.” In his post, Jaitley also alleged that Kharge used “the weapon of dissent excessively and not objectively.” “Using the instrument of dissent recklessly neutralizes its value. The perpetual dissenter in a Collegium meant for appointments sends a message that he was included as a Member because of his capacity of Leader of the Opposition but he hasn’t been able to shed his role as an Opposition Member, even though now he is a part of a Government Committee,” Jaitley said.