Most members of a parliamentary panel sought the withdrawal of a draft report opposing the disinvestment of Air India at a stormy meeting today, prompting some opposition leaders to walk out in protest.
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.
When asked about the developments at the meeting, he said proceedings related to parliamentary panel cannot be discussed with the media.
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 in favour 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.
The officiating chairman maintained that he was following the rule book by withdrawing the draft report as majority of members were opposing the draft report, sources added.
Further, Venugopal said that officially the panel's discussion today was on Buddhist tourism circuit.
There are 31 MPs in all in the committee, with 15 from the BJP, and one each from its allies TDP and Apna Dal and RLSP. Three are from the Congress, three from the TMC and one each from SP, YSR Congress, RJD, NCP, BJD, CPI(M) and AIADMK.