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Keeping tabs on the political grapevine

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal was not exactly polite to BJP leader LK Advani when he came to greet the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the budget session.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2013 11:06 PM IST

No time for pleasantries

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal was not exactly polite to BJP leader LK Advani when he came to greet the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the budget session. Advani, unlike others in the lower house of Parliament, went with folded hands to the leaders of various political parties as soon as Lok Sabha commenced business.

He reached the treasury section of the Lok Sabha where various Congress leaders including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi were seated. As soon as Advani reached there, hands folded, Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar stood up and exchanged pleasantries with him. Advani then moved towards the second row where senior Congress ministers including Sibal were sitting.

Sibal, however, turned his face away and started looking at his papers as other Congress ministers reciprocated with folded hands. Advani, however, did not take any note of Sibal’s behaviour and went ahead with greeting other MPs. Courtesy’s not his strong point clearly.

The long and the long of it

Only a few Members of Parliament followed the maiden speech of President Pranab Mukherjee. The only exception was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He kept track of Mukherjee’s words on the copy of the speech distributed to MPs till the last word was read.

Apparently, this was because it was his office which prepared the President’s speech on first day of the budget session. Many other MPs found the speech very boring and dozed off in the Central Hall as Mukherjee went through the routine of delivering a lengthy speech outlining the achievements of the UPA government sector-wise in this crucial election year. Many seats meant for MPs in the Central Hall were also vacant. Take it as read then.

A picture of propriety

A few minutes before the start of President Pranab Mukherjee’s address to the joint session of Parliament on Thursday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi walked into the Central Hall and stopped on seeing home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj sitting next to each other.

She smilingly gestured to them as if asking if everything was all right now. Shinde was under strong attack from the BJP for his Hindu terror remark. Swaraj responded with a smile. Later, finance minister P Chidambaram also went up to the two leaders and took out his mobile and pretended to take their picture. Not side by snide this time.

Facing an explosive situation

The Hyderabad blasts have given fresh ammunition to Congress MPs from Telangana against chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. They have demanded an inquiry into the alleged failure of the state government to act on the intelligence inputs provided by the Centre well in advance.

The MPs, including Ponnam Prabhakar, Manda Jagannadham, G Vivekananda, Siricilla Rajaiah and G Sukhender Reddy, alleged that the chief minister was more interested in keeping a watch on the movements of Telangana leaders than in gathering intelligence on terrorists.

“The chief minister is busy in activities aimed at implicating political rivals in various cases. He should take responsibility for the blasts,” Prabhakar said. When the inputs did not match the outputs.

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