Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: BJD’s parliamentary party leader Bhartruhari Mahtab is innocent; he is just following orders of  Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's private secretary VK Pandian, tweeted Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda today. His tweet was in response to one of his followers, who had expressed displeasure over Mahtab writing to the Lok Sabha speaker seeking removal of Panda from the standing committee on Home Affairs and allocation of a separate seat for him in Lok Sabha chamber.

Mahtab had on Tuesday sought removal of Panda from the standing committee on Home Affairs citing his suspension from the primary membership of BJD. In a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, the Cuttack MP also requested that Panda should be allocated a separate seat away from the seats earmarked for the BJD MPs in the Lok Sabha Chamber.

In response to the letter, a twitter user stated Panda was present in the selection committee that gave Mahtab the best parliamentarian award but now the Cuttack MP is bringing allegations against the former.

On the other hand, former Union Cabinet minister of Parliamentary Affairs Srikant Jena said that once somebody is made member of a parliamentary standing committee, only the speaker can withdraw his/her membership. Hence, if a letter has been written to remove MP Baijayant, then it's wrong, he opined.

"Once members of a party inform their choice in writing to Parliamentary Affairs minister or Speaker, ultimately the speaker decides who will stay in which standing committee. After a person becomes a member of a standing committee only the speaker has the right to expel him or her from the committee and the party cannot interfere in it," said Jena.