Three seems to be a thaw in the relation between Trinamool Congress and its erstwhile general secretary Mukul Roy, who is now a backbencher in Parliament. After Derek O’Brien, who replaced Roy as leader of the party in Rajya Sabha, spoke during the debate on the Constitution, Roy congratulated him on his speech. The two, along with some party MPs, were also seen sitting together in the Central Hall earlier — an improvement from the time when they would ignore each other inside the House.
In The Running
Months after he took early retirement as home secretary citing “personal reasons” — 17 months before the completion of his two-year tenure — former IAS officer L C Goyal has set his sights on another high-profile job. He is among the officers — serving and retired bureaucrats — who have been interviewed for the post of Chairman, Competition Commission of India. The term of the incumbent, Ashok Chawla, ends in January next year. Immediately after his abrupt departure from the home ministry, Goyal was appointed Chairperson and Managing Director of the India Trade Promotion Organisation. But the CCI Chairperson’s job is seen as far more prestigious.
It is normal for three or four MPs to ask a question on the same or similar subject, but rare for 59 MPs to do so. The Lok Sabha questions’ list on Tuesday saw 59 MPs raising questions on the rise in price of pulses — from Congress’s Ashok Chavan to BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab, NCP’s Supriya Sule, AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi and BJP’s Nishikant Dubey. After battling the issue during the Bihar elections, the BJP-led government is now getting ready to face the opposition, which has sought a debate on the price rise of pulses. The list of questions is an indicator of the interest in the issue.
Right To Speak
At the all-party meeting last week, the initial seating arrangement was such that smaller parties, including the DMK, were to sit in the second row. But when some seats in the front remained vacant, DMK MP Kanimozhi was given a seat closer to the Prime Minister. However, when Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu asked her to speak, TMC MP Derek O’Brien protested and insisted that his party should be given the chance before DMK. Even after Naidu said it was his prerogative to decide who would speak first, Derek continued to argue. But Naidu stuck to his stand and asked Kanimozhi to go ahead.
It is the home ministry’s turn to criticise the BSNL. In a written reply, the Ministry of Home Affairs has admitted that residents of border areas in Uttarakhand sometimes use Nepal’s cellphone services “due to weak signals of BSNL”. The ministry, however, denied that Indian security forces in the area also use Nepal’s telecom services.