After exit from law ministry, Ashwani Kumar may head law panel

Hindustan Times, August 28, 2014

More than a year after his resignation from the cabinet, Congress leader and former law minister Ashwani Kumar may make a comeback in the forefront.

The party may consider recommending his name, along with three other leaders for a possible chairmanship in parliamentary standing committees.

The Congress has negotiated hard with the BJP to get four chairmanships of parliamentary standing committees, a multi-party review body that keeps a tab on functioning of related ministries and its bills.

Former union minister EMS Natchiappan and Shashi Tharoor and West Bengal Congress ex-chief Pradip Bhattacharyya are also seen as front runners for the three other chairman’s posts which is the party is hopeful of getting.

While Tharoor belongs to Lok Sabha, others belong to in the Upper House where the Congress is still the largest party.

The Congress was initially keen on head the standing committee on human resource development. But an adamant BJP is in no mood to leave that to any opposition party.

If the Congress gets the chairmanship of law and justice panel, Kumar, a former law minister, may head it.

In the party circle, Kumar is seen as a blue-eyed colleague of former PM Manmohan Singh.

Natchiappan may be headed to the committee on home while Bhattacharyya may get environment panel.

Tharoor, a former junior minister who deftly handled external affairs and human resource development in two separate stints, may get a chance to head the panel on his pet subject: foreign affairs.

In 2013, Ashwani Kumar, under fire from the Opposition, resigned after the Supreme Court slammed the CBI for allowing the law ministry to vet the draft of the probe agency’s ‘Coalgate’ report. The apex court also observed that a minister cannot interfere with the CBI probe.

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