PAC: BJP may bring new faces, Oppn gears up for showdown

PAC: BJP may bring new faces, Oppn gears up for showdown


New Delhi: In the season of brinkmanship and turmoil in Parliament as the stage is set for the reconstitution of the Public Accounts Committee, there are indications that the Bharatiya Janata Party may replace one or two members while Opposition, including the Indian National Congress, "gears up for a showdown" in the Mallikarjun Kharge-headed panel.
The PAC is, at present, taking up Bofors, and the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deals, among various high-profile subjects.
The Congress party, which replaced former Chairman K V Thomas, is all set to continue with the nomination for Mr Mallikarjun Kharge as the Chairman.
"The next PAC will be perhaps the last during the stint of the present Lok Sabha. Now we may head for a showdown," a key Opposition member told UNI, adding the Congress and other parties may opt for a "more aggressive" stance in the 22-member panel comprising MPs from both the Houses.
The refrain from the Opposition camp recalls the last Lok Sabha, when the PAC then headed by BJP's Dr Murli Manahor Joshi, entered into a battle of nerves with the Congress.
BJP sources have indicated that one or two new faces may be brought in. In the existing PAC, the BJP has Nishikant Dubey, Anurag Thakur and Kirit Somaiya, among other vocal members.
Among them Mr Dubey, lawmaker from Godda in Jharkhand, has been quite active and taken keen interest in issues related to the functioning of PAC and various panels including the sub-committee on Bofors.
Mr Dubey is also heading the PAC sub-committee on Direct and Indirect Taxes-which includes, among others, Satyavrat Chaturvedi, Shivkumar Chanabasappa Udasi, Ajay Sancheti and also a key BJP leader, Bhupender Yadav.
It may be mentioned that in 2016, just when the controversial AgustaWestland chopper deal was to be taken up by the PAC, the BJP had replaced its senior members SS Ahluwalia and Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'.
In the new reconstituted PAC, most of the BJP members had been retained, a source said adding "there need not be any specific reason to replace anyone.''
However, there are suggestions that the PAC during the past year or so took keen interest in various issues and grilled Hasmukh Adhia and RBI Governor Urjit Patel, among other senior bureaucrats.
From the BJP side, a senior lawmaker from Uttarakhand, Bhagat Singh Koshyari is expected to get a berth in the panel. However, there is no confirmation yet.
The ruling National Democratic Alliance may try to get an additional berth also as the lone Nagaland MP Neiphiu Rio has resigned and gone to the state as Chief Minister.

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