During the Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha on Friday, Union Minister Piyush Goyal appeared to be in a light mood. On a question related to the railway route in Punjab raised by AAP’s Raghav Chadha, CPM’s John Brittas wanted to squeeze in a question about Kerala. “I would ask a straight question to the Hon’ble Minister. Since it involves the prestige and integrity of two Cabinet Ministers, Piyush Goyal and Ashwini Vaishnaw…,” he said before asking about an office memorandum issued in June to do away with the Nemom Terminal Project in Kerala. Goyal, who is no longer the railway minister, did not want to miss a chance to give it back to the Opposition MP. “My esteemed colleague and good friend normally asks straight questions, and sometimes asks googly questions. Today, he asked a straight question!”
Black by chance: On a day when the Congress MPs protested wearing black, others who wore black inadvertently on Friday had to do some explanations. Finding the Congress benches, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, in black attires, most shocked was BJP’s Riti Pathak (MP from Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh), who had come in a black sari. Fellow BJP women MPs were asking whether she was joining the protest. An embarrassed Pathak was seen explaining to the fellow party colleagues.
Another MP who turned up in black was M Kanimozhi even as the DMK was not part of the “wear-black protest”. Congress members were heard claiming “Kani is with us”, but she just smiled at them. BSP’s Sangeeta Azad also came in a black sari, but was not part of the protest.
Break from past: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday presented sweets, mishti doi and a bouquet of yellow roses to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting that lasted around 40 minutes. An aide of the Trinamool Congress supremo said she brought along the sweets from Kolkata, adding that she also greeted Modi with a scarf. In a break from the past, Banerjee, who usually interacts with the media during her visits to the national capital, has so far abstained from speaking to the Press this time.