The Public Accounts Accounts met on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Congress Lok Sabha floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. This was the first meeting of a parliamentary standing committee ever since the second wave of coronavirus hit the country. The agenda for the meeting was to select subjects that the committee would discuss in the near future.
However, it got off to a controversial start when Chowdhury read a suo motu statement on the pandemic mismanagement by the Central government. This was met with a sharp criticism from the members of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), including BJP and JDU MPs. Sources said parliamentarians like Jagdambika Pal of the BJP and Lallan Singh of the JDU urged Chowdhury to not pursue a personal agenda. Even MPs from parties like the Shiv Sena, which is in the opposition at the moment, were of the opinion that such an issue cannot be discussed in committee meetings.
The MPs brought to Chowdhury’s notice the history of the PAC committee discussing only subjects that fall under the Comptroller and Auditor General. With Chowdhury bringing up a subject that was not even in the meeting’s agenda revealed that he pursuing the Congress’ agenda, MPs from the ruling camp said.
Sources said Chowdhury said he was reading out facts which are there in public domain and if he had said anything wrong or inaccurate, he was willing to give up his position as a committee chairman. After the arguments came to an end, the committee shortlisted the subjects that would be discussed in the coming meetings.
BJP’s Bhupendra Yadav, Satyapal Singh, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, JDU’s Rajiv Ranjan Singh, DMK leader TR Baalu, AIADMK’s Thambi Durai, Rahul Shewale from the Shiv Sena, Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJD and Shakti Singh Gohil from the Congress were other members of the meeting.
This is not the first time that the BJP and Congress have been at loggerheads in a parliamentary committee meeting. The constant friction in the committee for information and technology between Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, Tejashwi Suriya and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is a case in point. Right from social media issues to the matter of 4G use in Jammu and Kashmir, there have been many rounds of arguments between the two sides with the BJP even demanding the exit of Tharoor as chairman of the committee.
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