By Payal Mehta
New Delhi [India], September 23 : Major changes are expected as the Parliamentary Standing Committees are all set to be reconstituted in the coming few days.
As per top sources, the principal opposition Congress is all set to lose out on vital Chairmanship of Standing Committee for Home Affairs, which is a Rajya Sabha-chaired panel and Lok Sabha-chaired panel for Communication and Information Technology.
The IT committee was chaired by Shashi Tharoor from the Congress. Post the retirement of Anand Sharma, this committee temporarily was being headed by Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
"The committees are constituted every few years and it has been a precedent to rotate chairmanship accordingly," a source tells ANI.
In a letter written to the Leader of the House Piyush Goyal by the Leader Of Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, it was cited that as per parliamentary niceties the post of chairman of Home Committee have always been given to the opposition.
An excerpt of the letter written by Kharge to Piyush Goyal, accessed by ANI reads, "As is understood, the post of Chairperson in respect of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change is being given to INC. The purpose of my present letter is to request that this time also, the post of Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs may be given to Congress.
"While I do appreciate that the number of particular parties determines the allocation of the post of Chairpersons to the respective parties. However, in a democracy, the accommodating understanding or principle of give-and-take goes a long way in ensuring the effective functioning of institutions like the Parliament. It is in this spirit that this time also, the post of Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs may be given to Congress. I sincerely hope that this request of our party would be acceded to."
A source adds to the developments, hinting that the Government has already told Congress their demand cannot be accepted.
"Congress does not have the numbers to get more panels like Home. During the 10th Lok Sabha from 1993 to 1996 the Congress party which was in government, the Home panel Chairman was from the Congress party itself. First it was MM Jacob followed by Rajani Ranjan Sahu. The facts are for all to see," the source says.
It is further confirmed through sources that the ruling BJP is all set to keep crucial committees like IT and home affairs with itself.
The Standing Committee for Environment is currently chaired by Congress party MP Jairam Ramesh. The Congress is likely to retain that and has also been offered the Committee for Commerce, say sources. A number of other changes are also expected to take place in the reconstitution. Trinamool Congress which has one panel chairman in the form of Lok Sabha MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay will not chair any Committee.
"We have seen how the Trinamool Congress has been with the BJP in the state of Bengal and it's time for them to get a dose of their own medicine as they have been extremely unkind in their approach towards opposition in the state", a source aware of the development told ANI.
Sources also confirm that there will be a new Chairman for Health Committee. Professor Ram Gopal Yadav from the Samajwadi Party has been holding the post for a very long time and is all set to be replaced. This post is also likely to go to a friendly opposition.
It will be the gain of a committee for DMK, as the party is all set to get the chairmanship of the Committee for Industry. YSR Congress which was heading the Commerce panel is going to swap it for the big committee for Transport, Tourism and Aviation.
Several vacancies have been created in various committees in addition to the ending of the terms of the standing committees with more than 100 Members of Parliament retiring from the Upper House recently.
By Payal Mehta