Better late: Mallikarjun Kharge, the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, on Thursday hosted a dinner for Opposition’s vice-president candidate Margaret Alva and leaders and MPs from opposition parties. For a moment, everyone thought the host will not be able to make it in time as he was at Herald House. It was in Kharge’s presence that the Enforcement Directorate conducted a search operation at the office of Young Indian. The veteran Congress leader managed to reach over an hour late as senior leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and Tiruchi Siva, waited. The 80-year-old Kharge was at the Young Indian office with ED officials for close to eight hours.
The effect: DMK leaders’ complaint that senior Congress leaders refused to come to the well of the House or shout slogans to join the protests appears to have had an effect. On Thursday, in the Lok Sabha, leaders like Shashi Tharoor, Manish Tewari and Karti P Chidambaram left their seats as soon as the Congress began the protests. Tewari even joined in sloganeering. In the Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh, joined in slogan shouting, a rarity. On Wednesday, Dayanidhi Maran was heard asking Congress MPs whether there is a “VIP section” in the party who do not have to come to the well of the House, which had prompted Congress chief Sonia Gandhi leave her seat to protest for a short while.
Speed breakers: Not everyone appeared to be happy at how the Tiranga Yatra — organised by the Culture Ministry Wednesday —turned out. While BJP MP Manoj Tiwari was upset with the Rs 41,000 fine imposed on him for riding a bike without a helmet, licence and pollution and registration certificate, some the other MPs did not appreciate the “attention” Tiwari received. Their contention was that “actors and stars” always steal the show. According to them, it was not just Tiwari who came under fire from police. Another BJP MP, Jayant Sinha, who rode an electric bike with a helmet to spread the “green message”, was also frequently stopped by traffic police because they “could not understand the concept of running an electric bike without a licence”.