The Trinamool Congress (TMC) emerged as a prominent loser in the reconstituted Parliamentary standing committees, with the party losing the plum post of chairman of House panel for Railways for a less fancied Food and Consumer Affairs committee, and in the fact that no Trinamool Rajya Sabha MP will get to chair any committee.
While TMC leaders claimed that the party was singled out due to its rivalry with the BJP at the state level and its “vocal opposition” on issues such as disinvestment, government sources said the party itself had forfeited claim to a Rajya Sabha Secretariat-administered committee.
Calling the move a “murder of democracy”, a TMC leader said, “Why will we forfeit any claims? The party, in its meeting, had decided to name Derek O’Brien (Rajya Sabha MP) and Sudip Bandopadhyay (Lok Sabha) for chairmanship. Parties with fewer MPs have been given chairmanship of Rajya Sabha committees.”
Government sources said the norm is that a party needs at least 34 MPs to head a committee. “Trinamool Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandopadhyay, in a letter to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, had stated that taken together, the party has 35 MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, (and) so it should be considered for chairmanship of a committee that normally goes to an LS MP. The letter also said that this has approval of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee. Accordingly, no Rajya Sabha MP from the party was considered to chair any committee.”
Bandopadhyay has been appointed chairman of Food and Consumer Affairs committee.
While Opposition members of Rajya Sabha will chair five of eight department-related standing committees administered by the Upper House, Opposition MPs got chairmanship of only four of the 16 Lok Sabha-administered committees.