Toolkit case: Nishikant Dubey seeks removal of Shashi Tharoor as IT panel chairman
The battle over Twitter declaring a post of BJP spokesman Sambit Patra as “manipulated media’’ spilt over into the parliamentary panel on information technology on Tuesday with party MP Nishikant Dubey writing to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking the removal of Congressman Shashi Tharoor as committee chairman and also his disqualification from the House under the Tenth Schedule.
In his letter to the Speaker, Dubey has sought action against Tharoor for his “cantankerous, inane and rogue behaviour’’ which is “tarnishing the image of Parliament as well as the Government of India’’.
Dubey’s main charge against Tharoor is that he referred to the B.1.617 variant of Covid as the “Indian variant” even though the World Health Organisation has said there is no such strain and the government has written to all social media platforms to remove such mentions.
On the parliamentary panel of which both are members, Dubey accused Tharoor of turning it into an extension of the Congress for having questioned the government’s actions against Twitter in the toolkit controversy.
Last week, the BJP alleged that the Congress has come out with a social media “toolkit” on Covid to defame the government and the Prime Minister.
The Congress had last week complained to Twitter against Patra, BJP chief J.P. Nadda and other leaders of the ruling party for allegedly circulating forged documents and spreading misinformation. The Congress had also complained to Delhi police.
Subsequently, Patra’s post was marked as “manipulated media’’ by Twitter following which the government sought an explanation from the micro-blogging site. Police also turned up at Twitter India’s office in Gurgaon on Monday night to serve notice.
Alleging that Tharoor was helping Twitter act against the government, Dubey argued that the Congress MP has crossed all limits of “responsible behaviour’’ and should be disqualified from the Lok Sabha. Tharoor has not responded to Dubey yet but his Twitter timeline after the BJP leader made the letter public indicates that he remains undeterred.
This is not the first time that Dubey and Tharoor have clashed. Last year, Dubey had questioned Tharoor’s decision to summon Facebook in the wake of a Wall Street Journal expose about the alleged preferential treatment given to the BJP by the social networking site.
Tharoor responded with a privilege notice against Dubey for his “disparaging remarks’’ and the BJP MP submitted a similar counter notice. Nothing came of it but the two have continued to lock horns inside and outside the parliamentary panel.