Disruptions in Parliament, especially during the pre-lunch session, are not new. It is also not unusual for the Chair to use strong words to denounce such disruptions and berate members who indulge in slogan shouting. But Deputy Chairman P J Kurien surprised some of the members on Friday when he ascribed a motive to disruption of the House. Amid slogan-shouting by members who alleged government interference in the autonomy of Aligarh Muslim University, Kurien first said this is also vote bank politics. Minutes later, he said in Malayalam — apparently to CPM’s Kerala MPs K N Balagopal and K K Ragesh who were in the Well — that he knew it is being done because elections are near.
While referring to the negotiations on the Rafale deal, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday referred to a game of cards and said that “a good buyer” keeps his cards close to chest and “does not show his weakness to the seller”. He also said that “you cannot pretend to be rich”. Parrikar’s comments are significant given the fact that India and France have yet not signed the multi-billion Rafale aircraft deal. Parrikar said he is saving money for the nation by being a “tough negotiator”.
During Question Hour on Thursday, an MP asked Power Minister Piyush Goyal whether government had any plan to provide solar-based electrical equipment to Dalits and marginalised people free of cost. MPs in the treasury benches thumped their desk as Goyal said he would surely do it and would accommodate it in existing schemes. There was an uproarious protest soon, however, from the same MPs as he suggested he needed help from MPs who should use their MPLAD funds for this.
Bangladesh Parliament’s Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhary came to Rajya Sabha to witness the proceedings on Friday. While that’s common for the visiting dignitaries, Chaudhary and Bangladesh diplomats were quite excited to see the ruckus in the Upper House over Aligarh Muslim University. Since their chairs were a bit behind at the visitor’s gallery, Chaudhary, Bangladesh envoy Syed Muazzem Ali and another diplomat stood up, contrary to the norms, and peeked to see the members trooping into the well while shouting slogans. Some Congress MPs, including Kumari Selja, were also seen shaking hands with Chaudhary and chatting with her even as the House was functional.