New Delhi:The Congress is set to lose chairmanship of a key parliamentary panel, which is finalising a report on political funding, owing to a fall in its numbers in the Rajya Sabha.
According to officials in the Rajya Sabha secretariat, Congress MP Anand Sharma, who is heading the standing committee on personnel, law and justice, is likely to be replaced by Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Bhupender Yadav.
Out of the total eight Rajya Sabha standing committees, the Congress is heading three panels -- home affairs, science and technology and a third combined committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice.
Top BJP leaders are believed to have conveyed to the Congress leadership that since the Opposition party’s strength has declined to 57, equivalent to the ruling side’s in the Rajya Sabha, it cannot chair three panels in the Upper House.
At present, the panel on law and justice besides finalising a report on political funding, is also evaluating recommendations given to replace the first-past-the-post electoral system with proportionate representation.
The Congress alleged that the move is being made “as per the whims" of the ruling BJP. Stating that sanctity of parliamentary democracy is at stake, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala alleged that whims of a political party seem to be taking precedence over established democratic parliamentary procedure.
“And that is what Congress is objecting to and we shall fight it out," he told PTI. Besides the Congress, the BJP is heading two panels, while one committee each is chaired by the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal (United) and the Trinamool Congress. All 24 department-related standing committees are due for restructuring for their new term.