Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury speaking to ANI on Sunday. Photo/ANI
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury speaking to ANI on Sunday. Photo/ANI

Centre afraid of facing uncomfortable queries, Cong on denial of chairmanship of key parliamentary panels

By Siddharth Sharma | Updated: Sep 15, 2019 18:56 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept 15 (ANI): The Congress party on Sunday said the Central government was afraid of facing 'uncomfortable questions' after the grand old party was denied the chairmanship of two important Parliamentary Standing Committees on -- Finance and External Affairs.
"We have been given the Information Technology standing committee. It is important but the Finance Committee and External Affairs Standing Committee were not given to us. The government is afraid of the Standing Committee to be led by the Congress party because they are always scared of facing any uncomfortable questions," Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told ANI here.
"The government thinks that if the External Affairs Committee is led by a Congress party MP, then many uncomfortable questions can be raised," Chowdhury added.
His statement comes after it was announced that BJP MPs Jayant Sinha and PP Choudhary will head the panels on finance and external affairs, respectively. In the last Lok Sabha, Congress' Veerappa Moily and Shashi Tharoor used to head these two committees.
Chowdhury had earlier also written to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry for a review of the decision, which he termed as a "downgrade."
Continuing his attack on the Centre, Chowdhury said: "Last time the Finance Committee had asked tough questions on demonetisation. Similarly, the External Affairs Committee had asked tough questions on Dokalam issue."
"In order to ensure that uncomfortable situations do not arise for the government, the Centre has thought to curtail the share of the opposition parties," he said.
Chowdhury said that the Centre had forgotten the basic rules of democracy and accused them of "bulldozing" the opposition in the country.
"They are not following the rules of democracy. They are running it on the sheer strength of numbers. That is why they are bulldozing the opposition. We saw how in the last session of the Lok Sabha, no bills were sent to the Standing Committees for consideration," he said.
As per the appointments made by the Centre, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor heads the parliamentary panel on Information Technology, while in the committees serviced by the Rajya Sabha secretariat, Anand Sharma will head the panel on Home Affairs and Jairam Ramesh is on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was a member of the Standing Committee on External Affairs in the previous Lok Sabha, is now a member of the Standing Committee on Defence.
Chowdhury pointed towards the evidence from the yesteryears to stress upon the fact that it was very important to have the opposition leaders as chairmen of the committees to make the government policies better suited for the country.
"It is important to make the members of opposition parties the chairmen of Standing Committees as they point to the deficiencies of in policies and make them even better. A very good example of it is the Congress sending former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji to the United Nations even when they were not in the lead," Chowdhury said.
Further blaming the Centre, he added that this was even a worse situation than what the Congress faced during the 16th Lok Sabha.
"In the last Lok Sabha, we had 44 MPs and we chaired two Standing Committees. This time we have more MPs but we are given only one chairmanship," he said.
This reveals the low mindset of the government. They are doing all this to weaken the structure of democracy in the country," added Chowdhury. (ANI)