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Sunday, July 14th, 2024

Parliament Monsoon Session: After the Leader of Opposition, Congress eyes the Standing Committee post, India’s enthusiasm high in Modi 3.0

New Delhi: The effect of the huge decline in BJP’s seats in the Lok Sabha elections can be seen in the third term of the Modi government. In fact, the opposition parties are stronger than before and the Congress’s seats have increased more than expected. In such a situation, the India Alliance of opposition parties is seeing itself in a strong position inside the Parliament. With 99 seats, the enthusiasm of Congress is also high. After Congress leader Rahul Gandhi became the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, the eyes of Congress and India Alliance are now on the posts of permanent committees. After winning 236 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, the India group of opposition parties hopes that they will get the chairmanship of more committees than the permanent committees related to departments that the opposition got in the last House. These committees are expected to be announced during the upcoming monsoon session. According to the Hindustan Times news, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats have written letters to the parties. In these letters, the parties have been asked to nominate their MPs for 24 different committees (panels). Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandopadhyay said, ‘The Lok Sabha Secretariat has written a letter to me asking for the names of MPs for various committees.’ A senior official of the office of Congress President and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge has also confirmed that he/she has received a similar request from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. There are 16 department-related standing committees for the Lok Sabha and 8 for the Rajya Sabha. In fact, no final decision has been taken yet on the chairpersons of these committees. The decision to select these chairpersons will be taken by Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

Will Rahul become the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee?

A senior strategist of Congress said that the India faction is expected to get at least three additional posts of chairpersons in the standing committees. he/she said, ‘Congress should get one more committee. Samajwadi Party should also get one committee because currently there is no committee under their leadership. Trinamool Congress should also get one post of chairperson.’ Apart from this, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi is likely to become the chairman of Parliament’s Audit Committee (Public Accounts Committee) and some other opposition leaders may also get the responsibility of some committees.

Congress headed three standing committees

Before the May 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party headed three standing committees. These include commerce, environment and chemicals and fertilizers. Trinamool, despite being the third largest party in Parliament, did not get any chairman post. Samajwadi Party’s Ramgopal Yadav initially headed the health committee, but it returned to the BJP after some time. DMK’s Kanimozhi headed the rural development panel. This time the Samajwadi Party (41 MPs in both houses) and TMC (42 MPs in both houses) are entitled to at least one chairman post each. A senior leader of the opposition (other than Congress) said, “But the final decision will be taken by Dhankhar or Birla.”

Know the argument of the opposition

An opposition functionary argued that ‘55% of the MPs are with the ruling party while 45% are in the opposition. If the chairperson posts are distributed in this proportion, the ruling party should get 13 chairpersons of department-related standing committees, which oversee the functioning of various ministries, and others should get 11.’ Apart from the 24 department-related standing committees, there are several other committees in Parliament. These committees handle different aspects of the functioning of the country’s highest law-making body. These include committees related to finance, temporary committees and other standing committees.

Why are special or joint parliamentary committees formed?

During the session, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also sometimes form special committees or joint parliamentary committees. These committees are formed to review a particular law or important issue. For example, joint parliamentary committees can be formed to investigate the stock market scam or to investigate the presence of pesticides in soft drinks and beverages. According to two leaders, the secretariats have requested the parties to submit their nominations before the monsoon session begins on July 22.

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