BJP retains key House panel posts, Cong’s Shashi Tharoor IT

Shashi Tharoor's chairmanship of the previous standing committee had been repeatedly criticised by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey.

Despite pressure from some BJP members to replace him, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor will continue as chairman of the Parliamentary panel on Information Technology.

Senior BJP leader and former Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi was appointed chairman of the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, as the committees were reconstituted over three weeks after their tenure ended.
All other existing chairpersons were retained.

The BJP retains chairmanship of key committees, except Home Affairs, which will continue to be headed by Congress leader Anand Sharma.

Rajiv Ranjan Singh, newly elected chairman of JD(U), will be the new chairman of the Standing Committee on Energy. Although there was some speculation that there could be major changes in the panels, both Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla more or less retained the their composition.

Newly elected Rajya Sabha MPs have been nominated to the reconstituted committees. However, their composition changed, as some of the members had been inducted into the Union Council of Ministers in the July 7 Cabinet expansion.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was dropped from the Cabinet, has been accommodated in the House panel on Finance, headed by Jayant Sinha, while Prakash Javadekar and Harsh Vardhan, also dropped from the Cabinet, are in External Affairs panel, headed by P P Choudhary.

The IT committee was caught in controversy several times in its last tenure, with BJP MPs objecting to the panel’s decisions to summon Facebook for allegations against the social media giant on ignoring hate speeches by some BJP leaders. During the Monsoon Session, Dubey had moved a privilege notice against Tharoor after the IT panel tried to take up the controversial Pegasus spyware issue.

Tharoor had also given a notice for breach of privilege against Dubey, alleging that the latter made “disparaging remarks” on social media over his decision to summon a panel meeting to discuss alleged “misconduct” of Facebook.

Congress’s Jairam Ramesh will head the panel on Science and Technology and Environment, and Forests and Climate Change.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi remains in the Defence committee, which is headed by BJP leader Jual Oram. Ramesh Bidhuri, BJP MP from South Delhi, will head the panel on Petroleum and Natural Gas, Jagadambika Pal continues to be chairman of Urban Development panel. BJP Rajya Sabha member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe retains chairmanship of the panel on Education; Radha Mohan Singh of Railways committee, and Sanjay Jaiswal of the panel on Water Resources.

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