BJP attacks Rahul Gandhi over absence from Parliamentary Committees
Even as the Congress steps up its criticism over the handling of the China crisis, the BJP has accused Rahul Gandhi of skipping nearly a dozen parliamentary committees on defence.
Since June 15, when 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives in a skirmish with the Chinese at the Line of Actual Control, the Congress has been relentless in its criticism of the government’s handling of the crisis. The leadership has recognised this as a subject where there is plenty of room to catch Modi on the backfoot and the BJP, aware of this, has stepped up its defence against allegations of secrecy and misdirection.
We demand an explanation from Rahul Gandhi as to why he chose to be absent from all the meetings of Standing Committee on Defence, of which he is a member: Shri @GVLNRAO— BJP (@BJP4India) July 6, 2020
Now the party has levelled another charge at Gandhi – saying he has skipped every single Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence since the start of this Lok Sabha term. The committee is one of the 24 Departmentally Related Standing Committees (others include agriculture, commerce, health, etc) which has met 11 times since the new government was formed last year, most recently on March 12. According to the Lok Sabha website, Rahul Gandhi has skipped all of them and his term of office is almost about to end.
The committee with 31 members is responsible for examining bills from the Ministry of Defence, considering grants, analysing policy changes, reviewing annual reports and present their views. While they are not binding, these reports from the committee hold considerable weight and are taken seriously. That’s why these committees are sometimes called ‘mini Parliaments’.
BJP president J P Nadda, who has been leading the charge against the Congress, said that in addition to not attending these committee meetings Gandhi also “demoralises the nation and questions the valour of the armed forces”. In the dynastic tradition of the Congress, he said, committees don’t matter as much as commissions and the dynasty won’t allow the growth of deserving members who understand parliamentary matters. The Congress has downplayed this by saying Gandhi’s absence from these committees has no bearing with the event unfolding at the LAC where soldiers have died for the first time in 45 years.