Cong steers clear of demand for Dalit representation in panel

New Delhi: Congress on Saturday steered clear of the issue of inclusion of a Dalit representative in the Lokpal drafting committee even as senior party leader Digvijay Singh said the demand made by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is valid.

"These are matters for the government and the committee to decide and it is not for the party to comment on it. As of now there is no change about the committee and therefore there is no scope for any speculation," party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

He was reacting to questions on Mayawati`s demand for inclusion of a Dalit representative in the Lokpal drafting committee, which was also backed by AICC general secretary for Uttar Pradesh Digvijay Singh.

Singh said: "The demand is right. Even as the Joint Committee has already been formed and has also begun its work, but the demand that she has made is valid."

Asked how can the committee expediously finalise the draft for the crucial bill if such demands seeking changes in the constitution of the committee keep coming up, the senior Congress leader asked "who has stopped the committee from working?"

"These statements may come but the committee should continue its work. We are looking forward to the committee completing its job and prepare a sound draft bill for a strong Lokpal."

To questions on his reported atttack on Justice Santosh Hegde, a member of the joint committee, the AICC general secretary said that he had on the contrary praised Hegde.

"I have said nothing. I have praised him.

Unfortunately he is relying more on media reports than what I have actually said," Singh added.