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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Shashi Tharoor continues as head of IT committee, Harsimrat member of external affairs panel

On Tuesday, when Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla reconstituted the department-related parliamentary panels, Tharoor was re-nominated as the head of the IT panel.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: September 30, 2020 8:02:41 am
Shashi Tharoor continues as head of IT committee, Harsimrat member of external affairs panelShashi Tharoor, Harsimrat Kaur Badal. (File)

The Parliamentary panel on Information Technology will continue to be headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, whose decisions to summon Facebook executives and take up the issue of internet restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir had drawn the ire of BJP members in the committee. Some ruling party MPs had also sought the removal of Tharoor as panel chairman.

On Tuesday, when Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla reconstituted the department-related parliamentary panels, Tharoor was re-nominated as the head of the IT panel.

Former Union minister and SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal — who exited the Union Cabinet and whose party quit the NDA over the new farm laws — was made a member of the external affairs committee.

Although there was speculation about major changes in the parliamentary panels, both Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Birla largely retained the composition of the committees. Newly elected Rajya Sabha MPs were also nominated to the re-constituted committees.

The BJP retained chairmanship of key panels except Home affairs, which will continue to be headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma. While BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav was reappointed chairman of the committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, Congress’s Jairam Ramesh will head the panel on Science and Technology and Environment, and Forests and Climate Change. Newly elected Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia was included in the committee on Human Resource Development.

In August, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, a member of the IT panel, had sought the removal of Thiruvananthapuram MP Tharoor as chairman of the committee, citing the “flawed mode and terrible disdain towards the established parliamentary institutions”, referring to Tharoor’s comments about the panel’s decision to summon Facebook. However, the Speaker had given Tharoor consent for the move.

With the ruling BJP and opposition Congress engaging in a war of words over procedures of parliamentary standing committee meetings, Birla had written to all panel heads asking them not to take up subjudice matters in committee meetings “as per conventions” and avoid matters related to national security in the discussions while sticking to confidentiality rules.

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