Congress backs Binayak Sen's appointment in key Govt panel

Sen, a physician, has been named a member of the Planning Commission's committee on health.

Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Ajit Jogi has justified the appointment of Sen, saying he has along experience in working in the tribal areas.

"There is nothing wrong if the country wants to benefit from the services of Sen, who is a world renowned medical expert," he said.

Chhattisgarh Congress Committee member Nandkumar Patel said the issue should not be politicised and questioned the rationale behind the BJP's opposition to the activist.

A court here convicted the 61-year-old public health specialist for sedition in December last year for his links with Maoists. After spending several months behind bars, the pediatrician-activist was released after the Supreme Court granted him bail last month.

The BJP has taken strong objection to Sen's nomination to the panel. Chief Minister Raman Singh has expressed his displeasure over the appointment.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who heads the commission, the BJP leader has highlighted Sen's conviction on a serious charge like sedition. As a protest, Raman has been boycotting Plan Panel meetings.

State BJP President Ram Sevak Paikra has said the party fully supports the Chief Minister on the issue and they will continue to oppose Sen's appointment at every level.

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