Not an unwelcome visit
CPI(M) MPs were in for a shock when they entered the Central Hall of Parliament after disrupting both the Houses, objecting to the central team’s visit to West Bengal to assess the law and order situation in the state. Keen to corner Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the normally vocal leaders were dumbfounded when the minister showed them newspaper clippings in which party general secretary Prakash Karat was quoted as saying that he saw no problem in the Home Ministry team’s visit.
One step at a time
Muslim leaders from Delhi had invited minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid to a meeting to discuss an ongoing case regarding the ambiguity over Jamia Millia Islamia’s status as a minority institution. An elderly man walked up to the minister and asked if Muslim universities should not be under Khurshid’s jurisdiction. Khurshid triggered off peals of laughter when he replied thus: “Pehle Haj to mil jaye (You are talking of universities. Let me first lay my hands on Haj).” Haj, though a Muslim pilgrimage, is handled by the external affairs ministry.
True to our tradition
That mothers-in-law occupy an important place in the Indian family system is known. And the latest follower of this Indian tradition is the US ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer.
Talking about the state dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, where his mother-in-law accompanied him, Roemer said, “As you can see, I have quite easily adapted to Indian culture…bringing my mother-in-law to dinner.”
A sweet gesture from Jaya
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan maintains a high degree of reserve when she attends Parliament. So much so that Bachchan, who keeps mostly to herself and does not enter into unnecessary conversation outside the House, has attracted unfavourable comparisons with cine star Hema Malini, who went out of her way to sign autographs for star-struck security personnel. This session, however, the petite B endeared herself to all her critics: enjoying a quiet tête-à-tête- with Najma Heptullah during a lengthy debate, Bachchan surreptitiously pulled out a sweet from her purse and offered it to the former Rajya Sabha deputy chairman.
A mirror image, perhaps?
Congress president Sonia Gandhi was compared to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by an unexpected quarter — the BJP. The party MP, Bola Singh, during a discussion on a bill on electoral reforms in the Lok Sabha, said he saw “an image of Indira Gandhi in Soniaji,” leaving the Congress members thumping the tables. Gandhi, who was present in the house, was left red faced but she thanked the BJP member for the unprecedented praise.