It was a moment of embarrassment for the government in the Lok Sabha when the Opposition, while supporting a Bill to provide stricter punishment for rapists of minor girls, pointed out major drafting gaffes. TMC MP Saugata Roy expressed his annoyance that the Bill termed girls below 16 and 12 years as “women” when it should have been “girls”. He also pointed out that a clause defined gangrape as rape by “one or more persons”. He said this showed the Bill was drafted in a hurry and some Home Ministry officers perhaps did not know English. All Kiren Rijiju could do in response was take notes.
It is not all work and no play for our MPs. In a recent conversation in the Central Hall, MPs rated themselves on their sartorial tastes and the two women who topped the list were Supriya Sule and Sonia Gandhi. Sule, it turns out, has not repeated a sari in Parliament since she became an MP in 2006. The likes of Bollywood star Hema Malini were kept out of the “contest” as they are in a different league, said one MP.
No Word On Chair
The monsoon session of Parliament has entered the second week, but there is still no word on election for the post of Deputy Chairman. The Congress seems to have reconciled itself to the view that the appointment will not take place this session. Senior Congress leaders, in fact, point out that the Opposition does not have the numbers to corner the post and subtly suggest that some of the Opposition parties or its members could cross-vote. However, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad has convened a meeting of floor leaders of Opposition parties Tuesday. The idea is to discuss strategy, floor coordination and find a common position on the grievance that Opposition notices for discussions are not getting accepted. It is to be seen whether the deputy chairman issue will come up.