Besides being keen to ensure that new Lok Sabha members get to speak in the House in the first session, Speaker Om Birla is also conscious about not letting senior members lose their opportunity. For this, he has not hesitated to extend the window for Zero Hour mentions by individual members. Last Thursday, mentions continued for almost five hours and saw a record participation of 162 members. This meant extending daily proceedings till late into the night. While a lot of time on the Chair is to be shared by members from the panel of presiding officers for these long sittings, the Speaker has been sitting in the last hours before adjourning for the day.
Gopalkrishna Gandhi was the main speaker at an event to celebrate the birth centenary of late CPI leader Indrajit Gupta. His remarks about Gupta and his proximity with communism as an ideology were received with loud applause, but when he spoke about his actions as Governor of West Bengal, there was silence. About those days, when he criticised the then Left government during the Singur and Nandigram stir, he said his remarks were on “administrative miscarriage” and that he would have done it the same if any other party was in power. Seeing the response, Gandhi remarked that he could understand the crowd and “loyalty” is a noble value. Then came the applause.
The Right Fit
In the newly-constituted Lok Sabha, members are eager to get into the committees of their choice. Just like they approach all the ministers concerned and officials for their favourite residences , the MPs are keen to get into parliamentary committees on subjects they are interested in. Among the BJP MPs, a majority want to be in the the standing committee on agriculture. Second choice, according to sources, is the one on petroleum and railways. The last in their list of choice is science and technology and personnel, law and justice. The members apparently said they wanted to be on a panel in which they have something to do, said a party leader.