Facebook row | BJP MP demands removal of Shashi Tharoor as I&T panel chief

Nishikant Dubey   | Photo Credit: PTI

The row over Facebook intensified with BJP MP and member of the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Technology Nishikant Dubey on Thursday demanding the removal of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor as Chairman of the panel alleging that the committee is being run ‘unprofessionally’ and to serve his own “political agenda”. 

Former Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore also pitched in with a letter, accusing Mr. Tharoor of “flouting rules”. “We are not against representative of any organisation being called, but he [Mr. Tharoor] instead of discussing with us, discussed it with the media,” he said.

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In the four-page letter to Speaker Om Birla, Mr. Dubey raised a litany of complaints against Mr. Tharoor, many of them referring to his social media posts. He recalled Mr. Tharoor’s tweet criticising the move to refer the Personal Data Protection Bill to Joint Select Committee instead of the IT panel as “a dangerous precedent”. Mr. Dubey found fault with Mr. Tharoor for “bitterly criticising” the government’s ban on 59 Chinese Apps, “knowing well that this aspect is entirely connected with a wider canvas of ‘national security’.” In case of suspension of hi-speed Internet in Jammu and Kashmir too, he said Mr. Tharoor slammed the government even when the matter is sub judice

Mr. Dubey said Mr. Tharoor tried to ‘defame’ Mr. Birla and gain “political mileage” by going public about the cancellation of the meeting of the standing committee due to the pandemic.

Also read: Govt. dismisses Congress demand for JPC probe into Facebook issue

Mr. Dubey said it is impossible to “regulate the affairs of the committee on Information and Technology in accordance with the rules of procedure and conduct of business in Lok Sabha and directions issued by your goodself till the time Mr. Tharoor continues to occupy the exalted seat of Chairperson”. 

Political spat

 The political spat started with Mr. Tharoor’s tweet on August 16 announcing that the standing committee would wish to hear from the Facebook on the report of the Wall Street Journal which accused the social media giant of going easy on hate speech by the BJP and its leaders in the run up to the last general elections. Mr. Tharoor also clarified that this issue falls well within the subject of “safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms”. 

Mr. Tharoor did not respond to any of these allegations. No meeting of the committee is scheduled till next week. 

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 11:22:55 AM |

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