Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu have asked parliamentary party leaders of key political parties to suggest names of Members of Parliament (MPs) to lead parliamentary standing committees. The decision comes before the start of the monsoon session in an effort to recondition the standing committees. This implies that some of the current chairmen of the committee could be replaced. Senior Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Anand Sharma who head parliamentary committees along with 21 other Congress leaders had also written a letter to party president Sonia Gandhi to demand a systematic overhaul in the organisation.
“This is perhaps the first time that the speaker has asked all the leaders of parliamentary parties to suggest names for standing committees after the first year. The earlier procedure was that chief of standing committees would get an automatic extension in the first year of government. Since general elections used to affect the one-year period for which standing committees used to be formed, it was an established procedure that in the first year of government, all standing committees would get extended automatically,” a senior parliamentarian who is also chief of a standing committee said, according to Livemint.
The decision is seen to affect leaders like Shashi Tharoor who is heading the information technology committee and known for his political confrontations of the ruling party, BJP and his takes on the recent parliamentary scrutiny of Facebook. In a story done by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), it was alleged that the social media platform had ignored to act against the hate speeches made by some of the leaders of BJP.
“The tenure of the IT committee ends on 11 September and we are given to believe that contours of its reconstitution would be announced soon. It is difficult to say at this stage what will happen to the chairperson but it is a fact that at least two BJP members of the panel had written to Birla demanding his removal, it all depends on what decision is finally taken,” an opposition member of the IT committee said requesting anonymity.
Some Senior Congress leaders see the changes in the party as promoting young leaders, but the changes would also be about the timing and the kind of message the party wants to send to those who wrote the letter, according to a senior Lok Sabha MP from Congress