Members of Parliament of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) stayed away from a meeting convened on Monday by its chairperson and expelled BJP leader, Jaswant Singh, who has rejected the party’s demand for stepping down from the post.

Yashwant Sinha and Gopinath Munde, BJP MPs in the Lok Sabha, kept away from the meeting citing prior engagements. Mr. Sinha, who is away in Jharkhand on a tour of his constituency, Hazaribagh, and adjoining areas, expressed his inability to attend the meeting.

Sources close to Mr. Munde, who is in Maharashtra, said he was busy with campaigning for the forthcoming assembly elections in the State.

Shanta Kumar and Narayan Singh Kesari, the BJP’s representatives in the PAC from the Rajya Sabha, also did not attend.

Some NDA leaders including Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena) and Sharad Joshi (Swatantra Bharat Paksh) also skipped the meeting. BJP leaders, preferring anonymity, said although the party had not formally ordered its members to skip the meeting, they will keep away from the PAC activities till some progress is made in Mr. Singh’s case.

The BJP faced an embarrassing situation when Mr. Singh rejected its request that he should step down as chairperson of the PAC, as he had been expelled by the party. According to rules, he cannot be removed unless the Speaker of the Lok Sabha finds him unable to discharge his duties.

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