Settling into his new role as the Speaker of Lok Sabha, second-term MP Om Birla was quite tough with the members. Limiting the time for asking questions, he pushed members to be succinct. At one point, when Ajay Kumar Mishra, BJP MP from Lakhimpur Kheri, was taking his time to ask a question, Birla asked him to hurry up. As Mishra said he was setting the “bhoomika” (context) for the question, Birla retorted, “Bahut zyaada bhoomika baandhne ki zaroorat nahi hai (there is no need to build a long introduction).” Some Opposition members were unhappy, as the Speaker did not allow multiple supplementary questions.
The Trinamool Congress may have made a political point out of staying away from the triple talaq debate but told the government that it would continue to boycott Lok Sabha until the Home Ministry stops sending advisories to the West Bengal government. The party in effect toed a delicate line by staying away. Facing flak in the state for ostensible minority appeasement, the party was not comfortable with taking any position on the contentious Bill, and thus chose a way out by targeting the Amit Shah-led Home Ministry.
As ministers were responding to questions from new Lok Sabha members on Friday morning, some ministers were absent from the House, many due to Yoga Day events. At one point, TMC’s Saugata Roy stood up and said that ministers have been absent for three questions. When the government said that any minister has the right to respond since the minister concerned was on leave, an annoyed Roy said, “Hum sab kuchh kaam shuru karenge aur mantri chhutti mana rahey hain. Yeh koi baat hui? (we all are working while the minister is on leave. What is this?)”
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