A Former minister in the Narendra Modi government, Kalraj Mishra, on Wednesday replaced former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri as the chairman of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.
While both Khanduri and Mishra are among the senior BJP leaders who have been sidelined by the present dispensation, the development signals another setback for the former. For Mishra, though, it is a consolation of sorts.
There are 24 parliamentary standing committees, of these 16 are under the administrative control of the Lok Sabha and eight under the Rajya Sabha. They comprise members drawn from both Houses. The chairpersons are nominated by the presiding officers concerned, but on the recommendation of the floor leaders of parties.
Every member of Parliament has to be on at least one panel, but the choice for chairmanship is often reflective of the internal dynamics of parties. The ruling party, in most cases, hands the chairmanship of a committee to a person who is either dropped from the ministry or deserves to be accommodated in the ministry, but is somehow kept out of it.
Chintamani Malviya, a BJP member from Ujjain, replaced party colleague Rakesh Singh (from Jabalpur) as the chairman of the Standing Committee on Coal and Steel. The change had become inevitable as Singh had been appointed as the president of the Madhya Pradesh unit of the BJP last April.
Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi stays put in the Standing Committee on External Affairs, headed by party member Shashi Tharoor.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh will also continue on the Standing Committee on Finance. The committee is presided by former Union minister and Congress leader Veerappa Moily.
The chairpersons of standing committees who will continue on their posts are: former Union minister P Chidambaram (Home), Naresh Gujral of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Commerce), Satyanarayan Jatiya of the BJP (Human Resource Development), Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav (Health and Family Welfare), Janata Dal (United) floor leader in Rajya Sabha Ram Chandra Prasad Singh (Industry), Bhupender Singh Yadav of the BJP (Personnel, Grievances, Law and Justice), Congress deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma (Science, Technology, Environment and Forests), Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien (Transport, Tourism and Culture), Hukmdeo Narayan Yadav of the BJP (Agriculture), Anandrao Adsul of the Shiv Sena (Chemicals and Fertilisers), Hari Babu Kambampati of the BJP (Energy), J C Divakar Reddy of the Telugu Desam (Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution), Anurag Singh Thakur of the BJP (Information Technology), Kirit Somaiya of the BJP (Labour), Pralhad Joshi of the BJP (Petroleum and natural Gas), Sudip Bandyopadhyay of the Trinamool Congress (Railways), Ponnusamy Venugopal of the AIADMK (Rural Development),
Ramesh Bais of the BJP (Social Justice and Empowerment), Pinaki Misra of the BJD (Urban Development) and Rajiv Pratap Rudy of the BJP (Water Resources).
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