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Bringing down the House: When our politicians reveal their funnier side

Four snippets that give you glimpse of what’s life like for elected representatives of the world’s largest democracy.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2017 15:47 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi and Kumar Uttam
A view of the Rajya Sabha during its monsoon session.
A view of the Rajya Sabha during its monsoon session. (PTI photo)

If you thought parliamentary proceedings are as dull as ditchwater, you are wrong. Things are bound to get exciting when one has nearly 800 politicians hobnobbing — and, at times, squabbling — under the same roof. Four snippets that give you glimpse of what’s life like for elected representatives of the world’s largest democracy.

‘Whipped’ but amused

The three-line whips issued on Thursday by the Congress and the BJP, making it compulsory for lawmakers to attend the short-duration discussion on foreign policy, have left them both perplexed and amused. Whips are usually issued to ensure the passage of important bills — or, in the Opposition’s case, obstruct them — besides other important occasions. As a short-duration discussion does not come under any of these categories, members of both the parties were left scratching their heads. The BJP’s whip comes in the backdrop of the government’s loss of face in the Rajya Sabha earlier this week, when the Opposition forced an amendment in a bill concerning the backward commission because 17 BJP MPs and ministers absented themselves from the House. As it is, both parties want to ensure enough vocal strength in the event of a showdown on issues such as the Doklam standoff.

Yogi: Still a man of the house

As Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is yet to tender his resignation, he continues to represent the BJP from Gorakhpur in Parliament. Hence, his two private-member bills were slated for discussion in the Lok Sabha on Friday but Yogi was obviously not there to move them. While the first one seeks the establishment of a permanent bench of the Allahabad high court at Gorakhpur, the second seeks to insert a new article in the Constitution to ban forced religious conversions across India.

To be or not to be, that’s the quandary

Although his party rejoined the NDA’s ranks last month, Kaushalendra Kumar — one of the two Janata Dal (United) members from Bihar in the Lok Sabha — continues to sit with the Opposition. Moreover, he speaks with caution during discussions on various issues in the Lok Sabha. It is still unclear whether Kaushalendra supports Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to renew his party’s ties with the BJP or backs Janata Dal (United) founder Sharad Yadav’s rigid stance against the new alliance.

The best seat in the upper house?

When CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury recently bumped into vice-presidential nominee Venkaiah Naidu in Parliament, he quipped that the BJP leader can finally stop worrying about being elected to the upper house from different states. “You are getting a permanent seat in the Rajya Sabha for the next five years,” Yechury remarked, indicating Naidu’s possible win in the vice-presidential election on Saturday. Ironically, the CPI(M) has refused to give Yechury a fresh nomination after the expiry of his term.