Govt draws flak from Advani & opposition: Net neutrality

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New Delhi: In an interesting development the opposition on Thursday found BJP leader LK Advani by its side at the parliamentary standing committee meeting on net neutrality held on Thursday. Advani along with the opposition lashed out at the government amid a raging row that the government is trying to gift internet space to corporate groups.

Advani was on the same page with opposition members who demanded that the meeting be called off as representatives of private service providers Airtel, Vodafone and Idea were invited to present their case on the controversial net neutrality issue.

The panel on information technology, headed by BJP MP Anurag Thakur, had to abandon the meeting after 50 minutes of heated exchange as Derek O’Brien of the Trinamool Congress and Congress’s KVP Ramachandra Rao insisted that consumer forums and over-the-top service providers should be invited first.

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The Opposition said the 120-page background note provided by the telecom operators had reached them last evening, leaving no time to go through it. “I am not literate enough to read 120 pages in 3-4 hours,” Trinamool’s Prasun Banerjee remarked.

As Thakur and his BJP colleague, Sunil Gaikwad, pressed to go ahead with the meeting, Advani’s turn came to speak. “Both points (of the opposition leaders) are relevant. Let us call a meeting later,” he said.