Facebook row: It’s raining privilege motions

This comes after Tharoor wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, mentioning Dubey’s ‘strong remarks’ on Twitter that “the Chairman of the Standing Committee does not have the authority to do anything without discussion of the agenda with its members”.
Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi, Aug 19 : It’s raining privilege motions amid the raging Facebook row.

After Congress leader and Chairman of Parliament’s Standing committee on Information Technology Shashi Tharoor gave a notice for breach of privilege against BJP MP Nishikant Dubey alleging that he made disparaging remarks, the latter moved a privilege motion against Tharoor as well as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The Godda MP who is also a member of the same committee remarked, “For the first time have I seen that a Chairman of a Parliamentary Committee has moved privilege against its own fellow member.”

Justifying his move, Dubey said that accusing BJP of wrongdoing is tantamount to accusing all its MPs of the same.

According to Dubey, “He (Tharoor) questioned the intention, integrity, and honesty of MPs”.

When asked about the support for Tharoor from TMC MP Mahua Moitra who is also a member of the same committee, the MP told IANS, “Those who are backing Tharoor are not aware of rules”.

This comes after Tharoor wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, mentioning Dubey’s ‘strong remarks’ on Twitter that “the Chairman of the Standing Committee does not have the authority to do anything without discussion of the agenda with its members”.

“I sincerely hope that stringent action is taken in this matter so that it serves as a deterrent to similar incidents in future and restores public trust in Parliament,” Tharoor said in the letter.

“The contemptuous words used by Shri Nishikant Dubey have cast aspersions on the intent and integrity with which I fulfil my duties as an elected representative of the people of Thiruvananthapuram in the Lok Sabha, as such words constitute unwarranted vilification of the Committee’s name and the manner in which it discharges its functions, and his actions have painted an ignominious picture of the revered institution of Parliament by indicating that its functionaries have circumvented the process,” the Congress leader added.

Earlier, Tharoor had tweeted that he may summon Facebook representatives to the committee. But many like Dubey objected to it saying Tharoor unilaterally and without any consulation with committee members had announced it on social media. The Congress has accused the social media giant of being favorable to BJP lawmakers, based on a news report on WSJ.

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