New Delhi Under attack for his comments on Anna Hazare, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari on Wednesday opted out of the Parliamentary Standing Committee which is going into the Lokpal issue even as the BJP inducted two new membe

rs in the panel that was reconstituted after its term ended.

Tewari, who had kicked up a controversy by accusing Anna Hazare of being " steeped in corruption from head to toe" but subsequently apologized, opted out stating that some people had objected to his continuance in the committee.

" I am all for a strong and effective Lokpal. I heard some people had objected 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. Tewari is not the only MPs who is a member of the Standing Committee on law and justice and who has come under criticism from the civil society for attacking Hazare. The others – from among the 31 MPs on the panel – include Lalu Prasad and Amar.

The buzz is that in the reconstituted Standing Committee Amar Singh and Lalu Prasad will possibly be eased out; Samajwadi Party had nominated Singh as a member of the committee but he is no longer in the party. However, the panels chairman Abhishek Manu Singhvi of the Congress refused to comment on the omissions. The BJP has retained Haren Pathak and D B Chandre Gowda as members and brought in Kirti Azad and Arjun Ram Meghwal, all four from the Lok Sabha.

Party sources said Ram Jethmalani and Bal Apte, who were earlier also members of the committee, will stay put. Jethmalani was earlier on the panel as a nominated member.Singhvi himself is likely to continue as the committees Chairman; he had only about two months back replaced 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.

The next meeting of the committee is slated for September 7. Anna Hazare and his team have already briefed the committee. Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan also had an informal chat with Singhvi on Tuesday evening.

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