It was quite an embarrassing snag. The electronic voting machine in the Rajya Sabha recorded the vote of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrong twice. And Singh, who is also leader of the Upper House, had to use the slips to get his votes right.
All this happened as the Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed a bill to change the name of Orissa to 'Odisha' and an amendment in the Constitution to rename Oriya language as 'Odiya.'
Deputy chairman K Rahman Khan said, “Let him (the PM) not press the button. There is some mechanical problem.” Singh was not the only member who could not cast his vote through the electronic system.
The problem first arose during the process for passing the Constitution (113th) Amendment Bill. Singh's vote could not be cast at all when he pressed the button in support.
Even as all the 169 members had cast the vote in support of the bill, the screen read only 147 votes.
Those whose votes could not be recorded by the system also included CPM leaders Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat. Some members also pointed out Orissa assembly also has 147 members!
No pointing fingers
For the Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar relishing the smooth proceedings of the House on Thursday, behaviour of a Congress MP from Jammu and Kashmir came as a major irritant.
Demanding to know why he was not allowed to speak on an issue concerning laborers of his constituency, Chaudhary Lal Singh, Congress MP from Udhampur(J&K), was seen shouting and even point his finger at the speaker's chair. Despite repeated pleas from the chair and fellow members Singh refused to sit.
Singh is always conspicuous in the house with his frequent remarks on every thing in his booming voice but Thursday's insistence to speak despite objections made the speaker took objection to the member's behaviour. Singh only sat after parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal assured his concerns would be accommodated.
During a discussion on the Finance Bill-2011 in the Rajya Sabha, the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday flagged concerns over the ongoing crisis in the West Asia and North Africa seen in the backdrop of India's dependence on the region for its oil requirements.
Mukherjee said, “Out of 100 million tonnes of oil imported last year, 67 million tonnes or two-thirds came from Middle East. If the situation remains unstable there, it is quite natural for anyone to express concern.”