Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar will hold a dinner meeting for all Rajya Sabha floor leaders at his official residence in the national capital on Monday.
Sources in the VP Secretariat told ANI that an invitation had been sent to all Rajya Sabha floor leaders to attend the “courtesy dinner meet”. This will be the first of such a gathering by Dhankhar since he assumed the VP office a couple of months ago.
Apart from Rajya Sabha floor leaders, the Leader of the House, Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and some senior ministers who are members of the upper house have been invited to the dinner meeting.
The people aware of the matter said some opposition parties are likely to raise the issue of the reconstitution of Committees with the Rajya Sabha chairman and would request him to see to it that the courtesy extended to opposition parties for decades continues, unlike what the government has been planning.
The main opposition party, Congress, is set to lose the key post of the chairmanship of the Standing Committee for Home Affairs, which is a Rajya Sabha-chaired panel.
In a letter to Piyush Goyal about a fortnight ago, Leader of the House Mallikarjun Kharge had cited that as per the parliamentary niceties the post for the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee has always been given to the Opposition.
“As is understood, the post of chairperson in respect of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change is being given to INC. The purpose of my present letter is to request that this time also, the post of Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs may be given to INC. While I do appreciate that the numbers of particular parties determine the allocation of the post of Chairpersons to the respective parties,” Kharge said in the letter, accessed by ANI.
“However, in a democracy, the accommodating understanding or principle of give-and-take goes a long way in ensuring the effective functioning of institutions like the Parliament. It is in this spirit that this time also, the post of Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs may be given to INC. I sincerely hope that this request of our party would be acceded to.”
“Congress does not have the numbers to get the Home panel. During the 10th Lok Sabha, from 1993 to 1996, the Home Committee chiefs were from Congress while it was in government. First, it was MM Jacob then Rajani Ranjan Sahu. The facts are for all to see,” a source told ANI.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC), which has one Committee Chairman of food processing in Lok Sabha MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay, will now have no committee to chair.
“We have seen how the Trinamool Congress has behaved with the BJP in West Bengal and it’s time for them to get a taste of their own medicine as they have been extremely unkind in their approach towards opposition in the state,” a person aware of the developments said.
As far as changes in Committees are concerned, another big change will be for the Health Committee. Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party has been holding the chairman’s post for a long time and is likely to be removed. This post is set to go to a friendly opposition party of the BJP.
Moreover, there will be a gain of a Committee for the DMK as it will be getting a chairman for an industry that will be taken by its Rajya Sabha floor leader Tiruchi Siva.
YSR Congress which had a Committee Chairman for Commerce is set to swap it for the big Committee for Transport Tourism and Aviation, which will go to Vijaysai Reddy.
Notably, several vacancies have been created in various committees in addition to the ending of terms of the Standing Committee with more than 100 members of Parliament retiring recently from the Upper House.