NEW DELHI: The parliamentary standing committee has summoned representatives of the ministry of electronics and information technology over reports of Facebook’s alleged right-wing bias. The schedule followed the exchange of ‘breach of privilege’ notices between the parliamentary standing committee on information technology chair and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and BJP MP Nishikant Dubey.
While Dubey, a member of the panel, alleged that it was improper of Tharoor to have decided to summon Facebook without consulting other members of the committee, Tharoor accused Dubey of using “contemptuous words” which were “unwarranted vilification of the committee’s name”, and which painted an “ignominious picture” of Parliament by “indicating that its functionaries have circumvented the process that the MPs are expected to follow”. Dubey, however, upped the ante on Thursday and demanded Tharoor’s removal as head of the parliamentary panel.
“Speaking in Spencerian English with a foreign accent does not give freedom to an individual to not only disregard our glorious parliamentary institutions and organs to meet his own political ambitions but also to abuse our Constitution,” he said. He also alleged that Tharoor, since becoming House panel chief, had been “running the affairs of the committee in a thoroughly unprofessional manner and to serve his political agenda of spreading rumours and defaming my party”.
BJP’s IT cell chief Amit Malviya pounced upon Congress MP Manish Tewari’s communication to Facebook bosses in the US to get in touch with Bharat Gopalaswamy for clarity on the row surrounding the social media giant in India. Malviya said Gopalaswamy was a lobbyist who had organised Rahul Gandhi’s interaction with the US-based think tank Atlantic Council.

Tweeting a picture of Goplaswamy with Rahul and members of the Alantic Council, Malviya said, “Bharat Gopalaswamy, the man whom Manish Tewari appointed as his go-to man to lobby with Facebook in the US, and Rahul Gandhi at a meet of the Atlantic Council. Does this leave anyone in doubt that Indian National Congress has been using all means to influence Facebook?”


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