HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014

Eyes on Smriti, Congress wants HRD panel post

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 29, 2014
First Published: 23:47 IST(29/6/2014) | Last Updated: 12:01 IST(30/6/2014)

In a bid to keep up the heat on union education minister Smriti Irani, the Congress has asked for the chairmanship of the parliamentary standing committee on human resource development.

Irani had fought against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and the three-corner contest between Gandhi, Irani and AAP’s Kumar Vishwas resulted in a drastic fall in the Congress scion’s winning margin.

The party, which is entitled for chairperson’s post in three standing committees, has claimed the HRD panel as its “top choice”, according to sources. The preference is interesting as it has let go claims on more prestigious and important panels like the standing committee on home, finance or railway.

A standing committee keeps a tab on the functioning of the ministry concerned and more importantly, legislations tabled in Parliament are sent to the panel for review. Although the recommendations of a standing committee are not binding on the government, the panel may sit on the legislations and delay the law-making process.

Top Congress sources added that while the party is trying for a fourth chairman’s post, the priority is to bag the HRD panel chief’s position. The other panels which the Congress is trying to get are: Personnel & public grievances & law and justice, science & technology and environment & forests and water resources.

Irani was the first minister to face the Congress attack after the new council of ministers was sworn in.

Party’s chief spokesperson Ajay Maken questioned Irani’s educational qualification to run the ministry, only to receive flak from several quarters.

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