While ties between the treasury and opposition benches seem to be as bitter as they get, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a warm gesture by attending the wedding function of RSP Lok Sabha member N K Premachandran’s son. The only MP from his party, Premachandran often leads the Opposition attack on the government on legislative initiatives. Just before Modi’s arrival, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Speaker Om Birla arrived for the function. The goodwill Premachandran has earned with his diligence as a Parliamentarian was evident from the list of those who came to greet the newlyweds. Besides former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda, a number of Cabinet ministers, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi,
Priyanka Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar along with his MP-daughter Supriya Sule, DMK leaders Dayanidhi Maran, M Kanimozhi and A Raja and Left leaders, including D Raja, were present. Those present in the hall could see two former Finance Ministers — Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram — and the incumbent, Nirmala Sitharaman, standing together for a short while.
Home Ministry official Khela Ram Murmu, who was authorised by the government to finalise the formalities, has made the first donation — of one rupee — to trustees of newly constituted Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust. He drew the amount from the ministry’s budget under the “professional services” head, through which payments are made to private parties. The government, it is learnt, took the idea of not donating a big amount from the Somnath temple model. When Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and K M Munshi had approached Mahatma Gandhi with their proposal to reconstruct Somnath temple in Gujarat, Gandhi had suggested that funds for the reconstruction should be collected from the people, and it should not be funded by the state.
Phone A Foe
Rajya Sabha MPs burst into laughter during the Question Hour on Thursday as a member rose to ask a supplementary question on the financial health of public sector telecom companies. Before asking his question, JD(U) member Ram Nath Thakur vented his frustration over BSNL’s poor service. The MP complained that his BSNL landline was not working for four days from January 11, and then told Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad that BSNL actually stands for “Bhai Sahab Nahin Lagega”.
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