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Congress finalises succession plan for House panels

Congress seems to have managed the process efficiently in its parliamentary wings.
File picture of Rajya Sabha in session(HT File)
Updated on Oct 15, 2021 04:52 AM IST
BySaubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Congress party, which has struggled to effect a smooth succession plan for organisational positions, seems to have managed the process efficiently in its parliamentary wings.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi’s shift from the defence panel to the standing committee on home affairs is the latest evidence of this, a senior Congress leader pointed out. Singhvi, who headed the parliamentary panel on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice between August 2011 and April 2012, is slated to replace Anand Sharma, the current chairman of the panel on home affairs next year.

“It was a deliberate move to bring him from defence panel, an equally important committee, to the committee on home,” confirmed a second senior leader. Anand Sharma, the deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha, will retire from his current term in April next year.

The convention is for parties to write to the Parliament secretariat , requesting that a certain member be moved from one panel to another.

In this case, the move may be needed because it may be difficult for Sharma to immediately re-enter the house, from Himachal Pradesh (where he was elected from to the Rajya Sabha) which is currently ruled by the BJP.

In April, his lone seat will be up for grabs in the biennial Rajya Sabha election from the hilly state, putting the BJP at a clear advantage. MLAs of a state vote to elect Rajya Sabha members.

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The situation is similar to that of former union minister Mallikarjun Kharge’s nomination to Rajya Sabha in July 2020.

As Ghulam Nabi Azad was retiring in March 2021, the Congress brought Kharge into the Upper House to ensure a smooth transition. Azad, a popular face of the Congress, is yet to return to the Upper House as the J&K legislative body has been dissolved after the bifurcation of the state into two Union territories and the Congress has not been able to find any opportunity from any other state to bring him back.

While both Azad and Sharma are among the 23 letter leaders who wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in 2019 seeking wholesale change in the functioning of the party, the former J&K chief minister has been given key responsibilities by the party.

He was part of the delegation to Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday to submit a memorandum to the President over the incident at Lakhimpur Kheri.

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