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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Satire in Parliament, but will MPs laugh?

Zia Haq, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 24, 2014
First Published: 22:43 IST(24/7/2014) | Last Updated: 22:46 IST(24/7/2014)
It isn't easy to stand out making speeches in a crowded Lower House of 543. So, stand-up comedian and Aam Aadmi Party's first-time MP, Bhagwant Mann, has chosen the medicine he knows best: laughter.
 
"Since new MPs don't get more than two minutes to speak, satire can do the trick. Who wants to give long speeches," Mann says.
 
From a comic standpoint, Mann has found enough satirical fodder in the nation's politics, as he promises to keep Parliament chuckled with a new political language of thickly-coated wit. His couplets in Parliament, a social-media hit, recently drew the BBC's attention.
 
The comedian, elected from Punjab's Sangrur, is no joke when it comes to taking political potshots. When Rs. 1.4 crore of cash stolen from BJP MP Giriraj Singh was found by police, including US currency, he stood up to say: "Madam Speaker, it seems the BJP has now brought foreign direct investment even in corruption." An out-of turn-remark, it did not go into the bulky record books of Lok Sabha.
 
Before entering politics, Mann had been a successful stand-up, appearing in the hit television series, the Great Indian Laughter Challenge.  
 
Jokes apart, Mann wants you to take his jokes seriously. "Satire is not just fun, it is commentary on society," he says.
 
Mannspeak
On selection of Ahmedabad-Mumbai route for bullet train: "Main bharatiya rail hoon…Pata nahi paas hoon ya fail hoon, jab har cheez jaativaad mein bantt jaati hai, aise mein ek rail hi toh secular hai…joh desh ke har hisse ko jorti hain."

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