The apparent bonhomie between the Congress and the BJP following their consensus on the passage of the Nuclear Liabilities Bill a few days ago all but broke down on Tuesday with the swearing-in of P J Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner.
Leaders of the Opposition in both Houses of Parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley skipped the event, with Swaraj later meeting the President to put her party's point across.
The BJP had opposed Thomas' candidature on the grounds that the former telecom secretary's name had figured in a vigilance enquiry and a probe into the palm oil import scam when he was Kerala food secretary.
The BJP feels the probe into the 2-G spectrum allocation would be watered down when handled by someone who has been a secretary in the concerned ministry, even if after the time of the actual allocation.
The panel to select the CVC comprises the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The government has held that while Thomas was given a clean chit in the palm oil import scam, he became telecom secretary much after the 2-G spectrum allocation and, thus, had no role in it.
Swaraj told Patil the BJP's offer to the government of choosing anyone from the available names except Thomas was also ignored.
"The selection panel includes Leader of Opposition to make the process bipartisan. Is this appointment not partisan?" a BJP leader said.