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Vanquished in polls, Chhatrapati kin 'on-board' in Parl panel(IANS Exclusive)

BY QUAID NAJMI   |  Mumbai

22-November-2019

Defeated in the October 21 Lok Sabha bypoll from Satara, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), leader Chhatrapati Udayanraje P. Bhosale may be down but not out yet for the party.

In a recent communique, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MPA), has taken him aon-board' the prestigious "Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Civil Aviation" (MOCA).

The notification - F.7-1/2019-CB, dated Oct. 31, 2019- is signed by Dr. Rajendra S. Shukla, Secretary to the Government of India, and has named Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, as its Chairman.

It also has two other ministers of state -- Arjun Ram Meghwal and V. Muraleedharan as 'ex-officio members' on the panel.

The 16-member committee includes MPs: Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Thiru C. N. Annadurai, Sudip Bandopadhyay, Sarmistha Sethi, Vinayak B. Raut, Syed Imtiaz Jaleel, P. K. Kunhalikutty, (Chhatrapati Udayanraje Bhosale), Poonamben H. Maadam, P. C. Mohan (all Lok Sabha); and Rajya Sabha Members Praful Patel, Jharna Das Baidya, Subramanian Swamy, Shwait Malik, Motilal Vora, and Vishambhar Prasad Nishad.

Though Bhosale has been shown as a aLok Sabha' MP, he is the odd-man-out in the list since he is not a member of either house of parliament, depicting a 'royal' blunder on the part of the MPA.

An official source in Maharashtra, requesting anonymity, said that the MPA is headed by a cabinet minister (Prahlad Joshi) and such an "error" is gross on the part of the concerned officials, especially since the files are also counter-signed by two MoS.

He explained that the movement of the files of such critical committees is at avery high levels' with all these names being vetted and cleared at various desks, indirectly involving the Prime Minister's Office, besides the Lok Sabha Secretariat, various ministries and other top officials.

"How could officials/ministers at so many levels completely miss out that one of the persons in the list is not an honourable member of either house of parliament?" he wondered.

Legal experts have expressed shock at the revelation and have demanded a thorough scrutiny of all such statutory committees of parliament set up since May to verify if any other non-members figure on them.

An authority on Constitutional and administrative laws Vinod Tiwari termed it as "a sheer casual approach and an unpardonable lapse" on the part of not only the concerned ministers but their ministry officials and the parliament secretariats.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi should order a detailed investigation to ascertain what resulted in this serious howler to ensure accountability and prevent recurrence in the future," Tiwari told IANS.

He called upon the MPA Minister Joshi to rescind this communique forthwith by removing or replacing Bhosale's name with a sitting member as it involves the very credibility of such committees.

Bhosale, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in May this year, quit the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on September 14 and did a high-profile 'ghar-wapasi' to BJP, days before the October Maharashtra Assembly polls.

He was then re-nominated to contest the coveted Satara Lok Sabha by-poll but suffered a surprise defeat by the NCP nominee Shriniwas Patil with a hefty margin.

The last phase of the polls campaign had created waves when NCP President Sharad Pawar was seen addressing a rally for Patil standing in chilling cold rains.IANS