Leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have replaced Opposition MPs as the chairperson of the Parliamentary standing committees on finance and external affairs, PTI reported. The two crucial panels were led by Congress MPs in the previous Lok Sabha.

BJP MP Jayant Sinha will be the chairperson of the standing committee on finance, and PP Choudhary will lead the external affairs committee. In the 16th Lok Sabha, whose term ended earlier this year, the finance panel was headed by Congress MP Veerappa Moily and external affairs by Shashi Tharoor.

Moily is no more a Lok Sabha MP as he lost his bid to get re-elected. Earlier this week, Tharoor had said he was “dismayed” by a news report that the government might deny the Congress the chairperson’s post in the external affairs panel. He had tweeted: “In the entire history of Parliamentary Standing Committees, the [committee] on External Affairs has always been headed by an Opposition Lok Sabha MP. Our tradition is foreign policy bipartisanship: our political differences stop at the nation’s borders. Dismaying.”

Tharoor will now lead the Standing Committee on Information Technology. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been moved from the parliamentary committee on external affairs to the panel on defence.

Anand Sharma is now the only Congress MP to head a committee. He was appointed the chairperson of the committee on home affairs.

The BJP won 303 seats and the Congress 52 seats in the Lok Sabha elections in April and May.

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