Light side of politics: Sonia asks for a needle, Shiv Sena praises Indira

Do our lawmakers spend all their time squabbling and storming the well of the House? Not really.

india Updated: Aug 03, 2017 16:29 IST
Parliament,Sonia Gandhi,Kanimozhi
Not every moment spent at Parliament is grim.(File photo)

Our lawmakers don’t exactly make a pretty sight when they shout slogans and squabble during parliamentary sessions, but many facets of their personality – humane, wise, witty and sometimes fun-loving – come to the fore when they set their differences aside and get down to legislative work. Read on to discover a side of our representatives that we seldom take note of.

A stitch in time

Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha. (PTI Photo)

During a recent Opposition meeting, Congress president Sonia Gandhi noticed that one of the buttons on Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien’s shirt was about to pop. She immediately asked the Parliament staff to fetch a needle and some thread. When the items arrived, Ghulam Nabi Azad – the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha – stepped forward to do the stitching. O’Brien was back in action a few minutes later, the button on his shirt now lodged firmly in place. Quite a display of Opposition unity, you may agree.

Khan Market Club

DMK member Kanimozhi is a prominent member of Parliament’s ‘Khan Market Club’. (Reuters File Photo)

This is the title that has been unofficially conferred on a group of young parliamentarians with a penchant for visiting the upscale Khan Market in central Delhi during lunch breaks. Although the composition of the group keeps changing, among those often seen driving out for lunch are Supriya Sule of the NCP, Nishikant Dubey of the BJP, Neeraj Shekhar of the Samajwadi Party, and Kanimozhi of the DMK. However, the afore-mentioned group title must not make one assume that its members restrict their visits only to Khan Market. They are not averse to exploring restaurants and other catering establishments across the Capital, and – at times – even host parties at their residences. The camaraderie enjoyed by these MPs cutting across party lines has drawn the admiration of senior colleagues, who often drop by for a bite when a group member brings some food along to share in the central hall.

Get to the point

Sumitra Mahajan, like the Lok Sabha speakers before her, does not approve of people beating around the bush while discussing important issues. (Raj K Raj/HT File Photo)

Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, like her predecessors, spends a lot of time ensuring that members do not beat around the bush while making speeches or statements on certain subjects. Members of the House were in for a lighter moment on Wednesday when she cut short Ambala MP Rattan Lal Kataria, who launched his supplementary to a question on training railway engineers with a lengthy preamble of praise for the NDA government. When she asked Kataria to “get to the point”, the parliamentarian replied: “Aa raha hoon (I am getting there).” An undeterred speaker then quipped “Aana nahin hain (it’s not a journey)”, much to the amusement of other MPs.

The Shiv Sena jab

Shiv Sena members praised former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the House, much to ally BJP’s discomfort. (Getty Images)

The Shiv Sena never misses an opportunity to needle the BJP, although both happen to be on the same side of the political divide. During a discussion on a bill to extend the Goods and Services Tax to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, party member Anandrao Adsul repeatedly urged the BJP to revoke Article 370 – which offers special status to Jammu & Kashmir – because it now has absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. Once an enthusiastic proponent for the repealment of Article 370, the BJP has been putting the issue on the backburner for the last few years. But that’s not to say that Kashmir-related barbs are the only ones the Shiv Sena throws at the BJP. Even as the House was debating the recent rise in public lynchings across the country on Monday, party member Arvind Sawant praised late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi – even citing the time when former party chief Balasaheb Thackeray called her the “only man” in India – to make those on the treasury benches squirm in embarrassment.

First Published: Aug 03, 2017 14:39 IST