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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Shashi Tharoor in Parliament’s foreign affairs committee at Cong request

Shashi Tharoor lost the chairman’s post during the post-election reshuffle of the panels and the Congress, which headed two Parliamentary standing committees in the last Lok Sabha, lost one despite scoring a higher tally in the 2019 national elections.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2019 13:11 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor(Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)
         

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s inclusion as a member of the prized foreign affairs committee of Parliament came as a result of his party’s request, Lok Sabha officials told HT.

Tharoor lost the chairman’s post during the post-election reshuffle of the panels and the Congress, which headed two Parliamentary standing committees in the last Lok Sabha, lost one despite scoring a higher tally in the 2019 national elections.

On September 23, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla nominated Tharoor in the external affairs panel, albeit as a member. But it is still a better deal for the Congress than seeing him completely out of the panel. Now, even as a member, Tharoor can raise important issues, grill officials on various subjects and most significantly, has a right to give dissent notes if the panel—headed by BJP’s PP Chaudhury—decides otherwise.

The move to bring back Tharoor, according to Lok Sabha officials, started when Congress’ Lok Sabha floor leader Adhir Chowdhury came to meet Speaker Om Birla. The Lok Sabha Speakwer has already earned a reputation of being friendly to all MPs, irrespective of their political colour.

Later, after some informal talks and coming to a broad understanding, Chowdhury sent a formal request to Birla, requesting him to accommodate Tharoor.

The Congress also underlined that since party president Sonia Gandhi chose not to become a member of any committee, there is a vacancy to accommodate a Congress member.

The Speaker agreed and a bulletin issued by the secretariat said, “The speaker changed the nomination of Deepak Baij from Committee on External Affairs to Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers, and also nominated Dr. Shashi Tharoor to the Committee on External Affairs.”

Tharoor will now be a member of two panels. He was already heading the committee on information and technology and now, he will also be in foreign affairs committee.

A senior official pointed out that membership of two committees is not a rare thing. “During every reshuffle, some members opt to stay out of panels, thereby creating vacancies. Lok Sabha Speaker is always happy to fill up those vacancies as a full bench is a better way to discuss matters of national importance,” the official said.

First Published: Sep 27, 2019 13:11 IST

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