Tharoor says privilege motion has ‘no validity’

BJP’s Nishikant Dubey moved it against House IT panel chief.

Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor, who heads the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology (IT), on Thursday claimed that the privilege motion moved against him by BJP’s Nishikant Dubey had ‘no validity’ as it didn’t follow ‘constituted procedure’.

Without naming Mr. Dubey, he said that “some elements” in the panel had reduced it to a “ping pong match” that went against the the spirit of Parliament and its committees.

Recalling his previous stint as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs for five years, Mr. Tharoor said members worked in an extremely amicable and cooperative spirit even though that committee too had ‘a strong BJP majority’.

Dubey’s charge

Asked about Mr. Dubey’s allegation that a Trinamool Congress MP had resorted to name-calling when the panel members assembled for the meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Tharoor pleaded ignorance.

“How can I tell you about a meeting which never happened? I am completely unaware if somebody allegedly said something at a meeting that never took place to somebody who was not there. How am I to be concerned about it?,” he said.

Though BJP members were present at the meeting venue, they refused to sign the register and the meeting had to be cancelled due to lack of quorum. On Wednesday, Mr. Dubey moved the privilege motion against Mr. Tharoor, seeking his removal

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi told reporters, “I have had the privilege of being a former chairman of a parliamentary committee… I have never heard that 10 people of the ruling party are standing and saying we are present but not marking our attendance… It is collectively an insult to all parliamentarians, for the institution of Parliament. What is the conclusion? They are not only hiding but also have no answers”.

Refuting the government’s charge of Opposition not allowing Parliament to function, he stated, “ I am making a proclamation here: you start the discussion in Parliament today and by tomorrow, we will discuss everything else. why are you avoiding Pegasus?”

Senior leaders meet

On Thursday evening, senior leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, P. Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, Shashi Tharoor, Kodikunnil Suresh, K.C. Venugopal, Manish Tewari and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury met to take stock as almost two weeks of the monsoon session had been lost to disruptions.

“There is no change in the situation,” one of the leaders told The Hindu after the meeting.

Earlier in the day, former party chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Foundation of our democracy is for the MPs to be the voice of people and discuss issues of national importance. Modi govt is not allowing #Opposition to do this work. Don’t waste more time of Parliament – let inflation, farmers, #Pegasus be discussed”.

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