Cong set to lose two parliamentary panels chairmanship – home affairs, IT

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New Delhi: The Congress may lose the chairmanship of two crucial parliamentary committees on home affairs and information technology in an imminent rejig of the panels, sources said on Thursday.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, in a letter to Speaker Om Birla, has alleged that the chairmanship of the parliamentary panel on information technology (IT) is being taken away from the party.

In the letter written on Wednesday, Chowdhury said he was “dismayed” to learn from Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi that a “decision has been taken to withdraw the allocation of the role of Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT”, which is chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

Stating that this is a departure from the existing conventions that have been honoured by successive governments, Chowdhury said, “The government must understand that both the principle of deliberation and consultation, as well as conventions that encourage bipartisan cooperation within the functioning of critical bodies like DSRCs, must be honoured.”

Questioning the intent behind the move, he said a similar position is being taken away from the party in the Rajya Sabha, on the pretext that the numbers of the Congress have reduced in the Upper House.

“There has been no such change in the Lok Sabha, which raises ominous questions about the real intent behind such a decision,” Chowdhury wrote in the letter to Birla.

According to sources, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has also written a letter to Leader of the House Piyush Goyal, protesting against the government’s move to “take away” the chairmanship of the parliamentary committee on home affairs from the Congress.

The opposition party lost the chairmanship of the House panels on external affairs and finance after the 2019 general election.

At present, the Congress heads three parliamentary panels — Abhishek Manu Singhvi chairs the committee on home affairs, Tharoor chairs the panel on IT and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh heads the committee on environment, science and technology.

There are 24 parliamentary standing committees, of which 16 are headed by Lok Sabha members and eight by Rajya Sabha members.

The panels are constituted every year.