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Off the record

Thanking people who participated in a discussion on a resolution he had proposed, Congress MP Vijay Jawaharlal Darda named his party colleague wrongly as ‘Mabel Riberio’.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2009 23:33 IST

She’s Mabel, he’s unable

Thanking people who participated in a discussion on a resolution he had proposed, Congress MP Vijay Jawaharlal Darda named his party colleague wrongly as ‘Mabel Riberio’. This prompted Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan who was in the Chair to correct him and say “lo, not ro”. Darda didn’t get it and again repeated the name ‘Mabel Riberio’. This time Mabel Rebello, corrected him and said “Rebello”. As another MP called out “not like Julio Ribeiro” the Deputy chairman said “woh ro tha, yeh lo hai.” Darda, still didn’t get it and asked Rebello, sheepishly “What is your name Mabelji?” prompting much laughter in the usually sedate Upper House.

Not figured it out yet

Soon after she announced that she would be coming out with a white paper on the performance of Indian Railways, Minister for Railways Mamata Banerjee was being bombarded with questions on her predecessor’s effect on the ministry’s finances. Candid as ever, she shot back “I am not a technical expert. I don’t have all the answers. If I had all the answers I would have been a computer engineer, I would not have been in public life.”

His finger on the pulse

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has his plate full. He has to handle a ministry that is the third biggest after railways and HRD and includes four departments, a number of directorates, 45 joint secretaries — many of whom he hasn’t yet got to know— several programmes and the big ticket one lakh crore plus massive rural health mission. As the only Congress functionary to have overseen the party’s working in every state and Union Territory — including Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Karnataka now — he knows most party workers personally. And now he is getting to pay the price for this, in a different sort of way though. Besides his duties as minister and party leader, he now has to contend with a stream of Congress workers — including existing and former MPs and legislators — descending on his office with petitions about transfers, postings, admissions in hospitals and medical colleges, all claiming a favour on the basis of their past association with him. No wonder he starts his day at around 8 am and gets to wrap it up well past midnight.

Fast train to nowhere

With all the furore over Lalu Prasad’s performance as Railways Minister, BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari quipped towards the Treasury benches, “Agar aap Laluji ko is prakaar garib rath ki taraf dhakel te rahenge to kahin who hum garibon ke paas na aa jayen. (If you keep pushing Laluji into a garib rath, he may soon come to us.)

Didi’s drawing the lines

CPI(M) veteran Basudeb Acharya is not usually a favourite with cartoonists. But for once, he was the subject of many sketches. And funnily enough the cartoonist was his bete noire — Minister for Railways Mamata Banerjee. While Acharya flayed Banerjee’s Rail Budget, didi was busy doodling sketches of an agitated Acharya. She drew the caricatures rapidly and passed them on to various MPs. Within a short time the sketches were being passed around the Lok Sabha and hardly any one was actually interested in Acharya’s opinion of the Rail Budget. When BJP leader Arun Jaitley spoke in the Rajya Sabha, Mamata — many MPs have started affectionately referring to her as the Parliament cartoonist — drew an ostrich. Even before Jaitley could finish his speech, the ostrich was up and running about.