Tue. Jun 15th, 2021

Alleging misuse of office, BJP seeks his ouster as standing committee chairperson

In a fresh face-off between BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, who is a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology, with panel chairperson and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, the former has sought the latter’s ouster for alleged misuse of his office. Mr. Tharoor has asked for clarification from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Twitter’s ‘manipulated media” tag.

Mr. Tharoor, in a long thread on Twitter, clarified that since the committee was not meeting, it communicated with the ministries in writing and the communication was shared with the members.

This is not the first instance that Mr. Dubey has demanded the removal of Mr. Tharoor.

In a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Mr. Dubey on Tuesday wrote, “The Standing Committee is the extension of the parliament but Shashi Tharoor has made this committee an extension of the Congress Party where he is more concerned about his parties and Rahul Gandhi’s agenda than the nation itself. Recently, on the Twitter toolkit controversy, he is asking for explanations from the Ministry of Information and Technology when Twitter’s action is against this nation’s IT law.”

Mr. Tharoor clarified that the committee had written to MeitY on the subject of the ministry’s contacts with @Twitter on #ManipulatedMedia on May 4 and May 25. And the committee on Wednesday received a reply, which was being circulated to all committee members.

Patra’s post

The BJP and the Congress have been sparring since BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on May 18 posted about alleged “Congress toolkit” which, he claimed, was to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Twitter later classified Mr. Patra’s post as “manipulated media”, which has led to fresh controversy. Twitter’s offices were visited by the Delhi Police.

“The committee are already examining the subject ‘Safeguarding citizens’ rights & prevention of misuse of social/online media platforms’ which relates to this issue. It is therefore well within the Cmt’s mandate to seek a clarification on this matter from the Ministry concerned,” Mr. Tharoor said.

Without naming Mr Dubey, he stated, concerns should be addressed within the committee. “As a matter of established practice&good form, Members with issues to raise relating to the work of a Parliamentary Cmt are advised to communicate directly with the Chairman and/or the Committee Secretariat, rather than ventilating their concerns in the media w/out discussion,” he wrote.

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