Cong sets up Shadow Cabinet-style committees

Cong sets up Shadow Cabinet-style committees

Taking the cue from British political system, Congress has formed Shadow Cabinet-style committees that would keep a watch on decisions and policies of key ministries of the Narendra Modi government.

The seven panels, most of which are headed by former UPA ministers, will also confront the government as it sets about enacting new laws and amending those passed by the erstwhile Congress-led government. Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge heads the panel on Railway and Labour, while former defence minister A K Antony heads the committee that would keep track on defence related issues.

Kharge would be assisted by Oscar Fernandes, also a former Labour Minister, and firebrand Bihar MP Ranjeeta Ranjan.

Young MP Rajeev Satav and former law minister Ashwani Kumar will assist Antony in tracking developments in the defence sector.

Former Petroleum Minister M Veerappa Moily will keep track of heavy weight portfolios such as Finance, Commerce, Information and Broadcasting, and External Affairs. He will be assisted by former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and former Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. The panel on Health and Women and Child Development is headed by Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad with J D Seelam and K Suresh as its members.

AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh has been made in-charge of the group on agriculture and drinking water and sanitation. Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and former Union Minister Ninong Ering would assist Singh. The committee on HRD, Panchayati Raj and Northeastern region is headed by Mani Shankar Aiyar with Bhalchandra Mungekar and Sushmita Dev as its members.

Former food minister K V Thomas would keep track of developments in the ministries of Rural Development and Environment, with assistance from Jairam Ramesh and young MP Gaurav Gogoi.

The committees are loosely based on the British Parliament’s concept, where the opposition party appoints an MP to ‘shadow’ each of the members of the Council of Ministers.

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