New Delhi:The Aadhaar divide between the government and opposition parties showed up at the meeting of the parliamentary standing committee for home affairs on Wednesday, prompting six of its 13 members from the ruling BJP to write to panel chairman P Chidambaram to stop the ongoing discussions on the issue while other members insisted on taking it up.
The issue of “National Security and Privacy Concerns Related to Aadhaar” has been listed as “agenda number one” on the panel’s list of items and the panel has already deliberated on it at four meetings earlier, sources said.
The six MPs who stayed away from Wednesday’s meeting, wrote to Chidambaram, saying Aadhaar is not within the purview of the home ministry and hence the related parliamentary committee has no mandate to discuss it, it was learnt. The BJP MPs argued it should be taken up by the standing committee on IT and telecom instead. The opposition argued since the discussion is on “national security and privacy concerns”, it is much under the purview of the home ministry-related panel.
Members of Congress, TMC, NCP and SP also countered three BJP members that the issue has been listed as an agenda from the beginning and the IT and telecom panel could also take up the issue simultaneously while viewing it from a different perspective.
In the letter, the BJP MPs also said Chidambaram should recuse himself from any discussion on Aadhaar as he had represented party member Jairam Ramesh in court on the privacy issues linked to Aadhaar. Chidambaram said he had appeared for “free” in that case which questioned if Aadhaar bill could be treated as a money bill, as was the route taken by the government.
Wednesday’s meeting lasted only two hours with few members in attendance. Most of the time was spent on discussing issues related to Lakshwadeep.