Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who had declared her intentions to not contest the Lok Sabha elections this time, seems to be settling into the life of a retired elected public official. A seven-time MP who served terms in both Houses of Parliament, Swaraj has now applied to the Lok Sabha Secretariat for an ex-MP card. The card allows former members free train travel and unfettered access to Parliament premises. Swaraj had joined electoral politics over 40 years ago and became a Haryana Cabinet minister at the age of 25.
The CPI(M) is not the only party set to lose its address in Parliament, the other being TDP, whose strength in Lok Sabha has decreased from 16 in 2014 to three this time. The ground floor office of TDP, which has been with the party since 1984, will now have to go to a party with more members. In 2014, the TDP had fought a bitter battle with Trinamool COngress, which was keen to move into the same office, adjacent to the BJP’s. But TDP, then with the NDA, had managed to retain the office. The party is unlikely to be lucky this time, it is learnt. Although its anti-BJP stance helped the three MPs win their seats – all three, Jayadev Galla, Srinivas Kesineni and K Ram Mohan Naidu had moved a no-confidence motion against the previous Narendra Modi government in July 2018 – the party will now have to find a new address in Parliament House.
Bonding Over Bill?
One of the first private member’s Bills to be introduced in the 17th Lok Sabha by a member of the UPA might appeal to the Treasury benches. N K Premachandran, the MP from Kollam and a member of Revolutionary Socialist Party, a UPA constituent, seeks to introduce a Bill on Friday “for maintaining status quo on religious practices” at Sabarimala temple in Kerala as existed on September 1, 2018, before the Supreme Court opened the temple for women of all ages. The BJP had been critical of the Left Front government in the state, which had quickly implemented the court’s order. It now remains to be seen whether the Treasury benches will support the Bill being introduced from across the aisle when it comes up for consideration.