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Centre appoints new Chairman of JPC


NEW DELHI, Dec 29 - Setting at rest all speculations, the Centre has appointed BJP�s Meerut Lok Sabha member Rajendra Agrawal as the Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Member of the Joint Committee Ramen Deka said that Agrawal�s name was announced on Thursday. Agrawal�s name was among a panel of names including Maharashtra Rajya Sabha member Dr Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe and Om Birla. Sources said that the reported reluctance of Sahasrabuddhe to take up the assignment led the Centre to select Agrawal. The first Chairman, Dr Satyapal Singh, was inducted into Modi�s Council of Ministers.

Agrawal, a two-time BJP MP and former MLA, is a businessman and also closely linked with the RSS. He is scheduled to hold his first meeting of the Joint Committee on Wednesday, said Deka.

He said that after the first meeting, the Committee is likely to tour Assam. Congress MP Sushmita Dev has also been requesting the Joint Committee to tour Barak Valley, which has a sizeable Hindu Bengali population.

The 30-member Committee includes 20 MPs from the Lok Sabha and 10 MPs from the Rajya Sabha. The Committee had already toured some of the States including Rajasthan.

Deka further said that the possibility of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill being brought up for discussion during the next Budget Session of the Parliament is slim.

A delegation of the BJP�s Barak Valley Coordination Committee had been pressing the Centre to expedite the appointment of a chairman and passage of the Bill. The delegation led by State BJP president Ranjeet Dass had met top Central ministers, including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, besides top RSS leaders in this connection.

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