Seven Shadow Cabinet committees have been formed ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament beginning Nov 24 to keep a watch on decisions and policies of key ministries of the Narendra Modi government, a senior party leader said on Friday.
Despite being reduced to just 44 members in Lok Sabha, Congress has utilised its pool of talent in Parliament to confront the government which will be enacting new laws and amending those passed by the erstwhile Congress-led government. Former ministers, including A K Antony, M Veerappa Moily, Anand Sharma, Oscar Fernandes as also Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad are prominent members of these committees.
The committee that will look into issues relating to finance, foreign affairs, commerce and information and broadcasting has Moily, Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia as members while the panel on home, defence and law and justice has Antony, Ashwani Kumar and IYC chief Rajiv Satav in it. Digvijay Singh, Ashok Chavan and Ninong Erring will be part of the group which will focus on agriculture and drinking water and sanitation. Kharge is on the panel on railways and labour along with Fernandes and Ranjeeta Ranjan. The panel on health and women and child development has Azad alongwith J D Seelam and K Suresh.
The committee on HRD, panchayati raj and northeastern region has Mani Shankar Aiyar, Bhalchandra Mungekar and Sushmita Dev as members. The panel comprising K V Thomas, Jairam Ramesh and Gaurav Gogoi would look after rural development and environment issues.
The committees are loosely based on British Parliament's concept, where the opposition party appoints an MP to 'shadow' each of the members of the Council of Ministers.
Party leaders are insisting that it was not correct to call them Shadow Cabinet committees as they have been formed to look at different issues and ensure that Congress plays the role of a constructive and effective opposition.