High drama in par panel meet over draft report on AI disinvestment
New Delhi: Most members of a parliamentary panel sought the withdrawal of a draft report opposing the disinvestment of Air India at a stormy meeting on Monday, prompting some opposition leaders to walk out of the meeting in protest.
Sources, who were present in the meeting, said that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture on Monday decided to withdraw the contentious draft report.
The panel's chairman and TMC leader Derek O Brien was not present at the meeting and it was chaired by BJP member Rakesh Singh.
It could not be independently confirmed whether the panel, in the absence of its chairman, could decide to withdraw a report.
The panel in its draft report had said it was not an appropriate time to divest stake in Air India and that the airline should be given at least five years to revive.
Out of the 31-member panel, 16 had given in writing their opposition to adopting the draft report. The majority of these members, who are also in favor of selling the government's stake in the national carrier, are from the ruling BJP.
Strongly objecting to withdrawal of the report, three opposition members--Kumari Shelja (Congress), Arpita Ghosh (TMC) and Ritabrata Banerjee, who was removed from CPI(M)-- walked out of the meeting, sources said.
All the three members said that the officiating chairman had acted in a dictatorial manner and asserted that only the full-time chairman had the power to withdraw a report, a member claimed.