Reinstate Tharoor as House panel chief: 1 BJP, 4 Oppn MPs to Speaker
MPs have sent a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to retain Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor as chairman of Parliament’s information technology committee
In a rare show of solidarity, MPs have sent a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to retain Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor as chairman of Parliament’s information technology committee. The letter, tweeted by DMK MP T Thamizhachi on Sunday, contains the names of BJP MP Anil Agarwal and four opposition MPs.
Tharoor, who is being removed from the chairmanship of the key panel, thanked Agarwal and other MPs for “this kind act of solidarity.” Earlier this week, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi informed Congress’ Lok Sabha floor leader Adhir Chowdhury that Tharoor, former minister of state for external affairs, would be removed as chairman of the IT panel.
Chowdhury has shot a separate letter to Birla, demanding the chairmanship of the external affairs committee instead of the IT panel.
When contacted, Agarwal distanced himself from the demand to retain Tharoor and said: “When anyone retires, we usually say good things about him. When I was contacted by some opposition MPs, I told them that Tharoor has done good work.”
“But the government has already taken the decision to bring a new chairperson of the IT panel,” Agarwal said. “It would not be appropriate to raise a fresh demand to reinstate him.”
The letter also bears the names of CPI(M)’s John Brittas, Congress’ Karti Chidambaram and Trinamool’s Mahua Moitra, besides T Thamizhachi and Agarwal.
In the letter, the lawmakers argued that the IT panel under Tharoor has “always been proactive in conducting frequent meetings, resulting in concrete actions” and is “regarded highly across the political spectrum under the able chairmanship of Tharoor.”
“Withdrawal of the allocation of his role will be immensely unfortunate for the IT committee which believes in the values of strengthening democracy at a time when technology is enmeshed with freedom of expression, rightful criticism and citizen’s safety and welfare,” the letter added, asking Birla to reconsider and withdraw this decision and restore Tharoor as chairman.
Chowdhury, who earlier protested against the government’s decision to take away the chairmanship of the IT panel from Tharoor, on Saturday sent a fresh letter that said: “If the government is determined to retain the IT Committee for the ruling party, I am writing to insist that as the principal opposition party we have every right to ask for one of the major substantive committees --Home Affairs, External Affairs, Defence or Finance.”
He pointed out that in the previous Lok Sabha, the Congress chaired the panels on home affairs, finance and external affairs. “Now, with 53 MPs, we have none of these,” he said.
“I respectfully request you that, while the government may be within its rights to assign the IT Committee to itself, the appropriate compensation for the Congress party should be to restore External Affairs to us, which was taken away from our party in 2019,” said Chowdhury.
The 24 department-related standing committees will be reshuffled this month as a part of an annual exercise.