Congress may struggle to retain chairmanship of House panel on home affairs

New Delhi: The Congress party may struggle to retain the chairmanship of the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs, considered one of the key House panels, in the upcoming reshuffle.

The principal opposition party has already lost the chairmanship of the House panels on external affairs and finance after the two committees were revamped soon after the 2019 general elections. The Trinamool Congress, which is the second largest opposition party in Parliament, may also lose the chairmanship of the House committee on food and consumer affairs.

Senior Congress leaders said they have discussed with the authorities and a few political parties, pointing out that as the largest Opposition party they should be given the chairmanship of the panel. The Congress has also argued that the standing committee on home affairs has always been led by an opposition member.
At present, the Congress heads three parliamentary panels. Senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi heads the committee on home affairs; Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor chairs the panel on Information Technology; and Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh is in-charge of the parliamentary committee on environment, science and technology.

There are 24 parliamentary standing committees, of which 16 are headed by Lok Sabha lawmakers and eight are with the Rajya Sabha. Reshuffle of a parliamentary panel takes place every year.

According to senior opposition leaders, TMC may also struggle to get the chairmanship of any significant House panel in the reshuffle this month.

Ever since the standing committees were reconstituted in 2009, the TMC has been allotted just one chairman’s post. Party veteran Sudip Bandopadhyay heads the panel on food and consumer affairs.