Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has been having a tough time as chairman of the Standing Committee on Information Technology, with BJP MPs objecting to steps he has taken. While the BJP members argued that the committee did not submit a report, as it always took up issues that would catch media attention, one of them, Nishikant Dubey, even wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker, seeking Tharoor’s removal from the post. Now that the committee’s term is ending on September 12, members from opposition parties feel the “build-up” was only to see that Tharoor does not get renominated as panel head. On Wednesday, when the current panel met for the last time, three BJP MPs — Dubey, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Tejasvi Surya — are learnt to have made farewell speeches for Tharoor.
Calm After Storm
The Congress Parliamentary leadership, chaired by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, met on Thursday to identify and shortlist issues to be raised during the monsoon session. The meeting was convened by Jairam Ramesh and attended by the likes of Ahmed Patel, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Anand Sharma, K C Venugopal, Gaurav Gogoi and Manickam Tagore. This is the first time Azad and Sharma met other leaders after the stormy CWC meeting last week over the letter by them, along with 21 other leaders. The leaders stuck to business and discussed the issues to be raised and decided that Azad and Chowdhury should once again convey to the presiding officers the party’s unhappiness on curtailing of Question Hour and Zero Hour.
Plant Without Panic
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday held a virtual discussion with Jaggi Vasudev, the founder of Isha Foundation and popularly known as Sadhguru, on “how to rejuvenate rivers” in the country. As part of the discussion, Javadekar said farmers have stopped planting trees on their land in fear that they would be declared forest land. He also said these farmers have now been told that their land would not be declared protected forests, and that whatever trees they plant, including sandal, would belong to them.
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