BJP lawmaker seeks Tharoor’s removal as parliamentary panel head
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Nishikant Dubey has sought Shashi Tharoor’s removal as the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology chairperson for allegedly using the panel to further his political agenda. He made the demand in a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla over Tharoor’s comments about the issue of tagging tweets of BJP leaders related the Congress’s alleged “toolkit” to defame the government as “manipulated media”.
Dubey, who is a member of the panel, accused Tharoor of “using the committee as an extension of the Congress”. He added Tharoor is more concerned about his party and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s agenda than the nation. “Recently, on the Twitter toolkit controversy, he is asking for explanations from the Ministry of Information and Technology [IT] when Twitter’s action is against this nation’s IT law,” Dubey said.
In a series of tweets, Tharoor said the committee is already examining the subject “Safeguarding citizens’ rights & prevention of misuse of social/online media platforms”, which relates to this issue. “It is therefore well within the Cmt [committee]’s mandate to seek a clarification on this matter from the Ministry concerned.” He cited established practice and good form and added members with issues to raise relating to the work of a Parliamentary Committee are advised to communicate directly with the chairman and/or the Committee Secretariat, rather than ventilating their concerns in the media without discussion. He referred to Dubey’s allegations related to the manipulated media issue and clarified that given the Committee’s inability to meet in current circumstances, it communicates with ministries in writing as required.
“...On the subject of the Ministry of IT’s contacts with @Twitter on #ManipulatedMedia, the Committee Secretariat wrote to MEITY [Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology] by email on 4 & 25 May & received a detailed & comprehensive reply dated 26 May, which is being circulated to all Members for their information,” he tweeted.
The Congress on Tuesday urged Twitter to tag as “manipulated media” posts by 11 Union ministers for “spreading false and malicious propaganda” related to the “toolkit”. Twitter last week flagged a post of BJP leader Sambit Patra as “manipulated media” after he shared details purportedly of Congress documents that were allegedly part of a “toolkit” made to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi and build a biased narrative over Covid-19 management, and the Central Vista project.