Deputy Chairman P J Kurien is rarely seen getting annoyed with Rajya Sabha staff, but on Tuesday, he appeared upset with the timekeeper of the Upper House. MPs usually get three minutes to speak on important issues during Zero Hour. Pratap Singh Bajwa of the Congress raised the issue of corruption in transportation of foodgrain in Punjab, which evoked loud protests from Akali members. In the commotion, the timekeeper accidentally allotted an extra three minutes to Bajwa even though he had exhausted his time limit. Although Congress MPs were more than happy to ignore the error, the deputy chairman was quick to spot it. An irked Kurien immediately asked RS staff to find out the person responsible for the mistake.
The crucial vote of two BSP MLAs during the Uttarakhand floor test Tuesday was decided the moment the Supreme Court ruled Monday that nine rebel Congress MLAs will not be allowed to vote. BSP chief Mayawati’s right-hand man Naseemuddin Siddiqui, also the Uttarakhand in-charge of the party, was closely observing the situation. The two MLAs were kept in “safe custody” under his watch. After the court ruling, Siddiqui promptly reached Dehradun with Mayawati’s offer of support. The party had its Plan B ready too, in case the SC had allowed the rebels to vote. In that case, the BSP would then have abstained from voting, it is learnt.
Penn In The House
Hollywood actor and former Obama administration official Kal Penn was the toast of the US embassy on Monday, as ambassador Richard Verma hosted a reception for him. Selfies were the order of the day with the actor, known for his roles in the TV show House and the Harold & Kumar film series. Penn was extremely self-deprecatory even as Verma showered lavish praise on his public service record. The actor, whose real name is Kalpen Patel, told the gathering that he wished his mother was in the room. He evoked laughter when he said that his parents will be upset at him for not wearing formals for the event — which had “business” as the dress code.
During a discussion on drought in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab took potshots at the Congress, whose members sat in the well throughout the debate. As Congress MP Sushmita Dev attempted to interrupt Mahtab’s speech, he quipped, “It is a dry well here. It is said, don’t jump into a dry well. You will only break your bones. You will not die.” Haryana MP Deepender Hooda, who was sitting on the floor as well, immediately replied, “Don’t swim in the flood either.”