Parliament Junkie: A quirky dose on what's happening inside the house
news Monday, April 20, 2015 - 05:30
Parliament is serious business, but that doesn't mean we can't see the humour in it! If Parliament was high school, the Speaker would be the Headmaster/Headmistress, Parliamentary Affairs Minister the Class Teacher, the PM would be the surprise inspector, opposition members the troublemakers, MPs of the ruling party the cheerleaders, the young, the hip and the Cabinet-hopefuls the popular kids and poor first time MPs would make up the class nerds. And Parliament Junkie is the mean kid who blows the whistle on what every other kid does. In this series, our Parliament Insider, who follows the working of the Sabhas closely, often from within, will give you the inside dope on the happenings of the Parliament. Baith Jayiye! Parliament| April 27, 2015| 14:00 Hours| South Delhi Mean Time Remember Gaurav Gogoi? That young chap who sat behind RaGa's homecoming speech in Parliament last week, thumping the desk like his life depended on it? This son-of-a-Chief-Minister today has a very pertinent question during Question Hour, on the issue of 'Irregularity in the Allotment of Petrol Pumps'. "Why you no invite me to meet you when you came to my constituency, Mr Minister?" he wanted to know. After all, yeh uske Gaurav ka sawaal hai, amirite? What, junkie wondered, would the Minister reply to such a question! Piyush Goyal, standing in for the Petroleum Minister had this to say: "As regards the visit of the hon. Minister to Assam, the hon. Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas whom I am representing here today, has taken very serious interest to solve the problems of the entire State of Assam. He has spent more than two hours with the hon. Chief Minister of Assam discussing various issues relating to Assam and various refineries including the Refinery situated in the constituency of the hon. Member." In other words, "We go meet your Daddy, why you so serious?" MP's petulance on the floor of the House, or Govt's dismissal of an elected representative's position -- junkie doesn't know which to #facepalm on. Meanwhile in Zero Hour, both Houses spent time on discussing the Nepal Earthquake. In the Lok Sabha though, Headmistress Sumitra ji who 'gives a chance' to all the 'mahilas' when it is a 'mahilaon ka vishay', gave a chance to exactly one woman MP to express her views. A token speech by Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah that lasted a fraction of the average time given to all the men before her. 'Cos clearly, Earthquakes got nothing to do with Mahilas, no? Parliament| April 24, 2015| 16:00 Hours| South Delhi Mean Time Today, Junkie has absolutely nothing bad to say about anything or anyone in the Parliament of India. Because Today, history has been made, Remember the year 1970? Junkie doesn't :P But junkie reads that that was the LAST time a Private Member's Bill was passed in Parliament. And then there's Today. Today with a Capital T. Today, Tiruchi Siva, that adamant adamant man, forced the Rajya Sabha to unanimously pass his Bill on Rights of Transgender Persons. Today, the Govt first tried to convince the MP to withdraw the Bill, and then said it out loud that it's not an issue where anyone should be forced to say No. Today, they all yelled AYE, all the Members present and voting in Rajya Sabha, while the galleries were filled with people from the Trans community. Today is Historic. Dear Tiruchi Siva, that was some badass stuff you showed us there! Junkie be in complete awe. Amen! Parliament| April 22, 2015| 14:30 Hours| South Delhi Mean Time Just when the Congress party was getting there with the 'How to be in Opposition 101', enter Rahul Gandhi -- the RaGa singing a tune so flat, that all the hard work of the past three sessions almost disappeared in under 3 minutes. Let's recap: By 10am today, the world (also known as the Internet) was abuzz with the news that RaGa was going to move an adjournment motion on, hold your breaths, #NETNEUTRALITY! Wow, they said. Just look at the white knight! He'll speak for the second time in 3 days, and on such a pertinent issue! Junkie admits, junkie was very very excited too. Especially considering the fact that Nitin Gadkari was listed to make a reply to RaGa's earlier comments on farmers, god and government. When the announcer went 'Maananiya Sabhasadon! Maananiya Adhyaksha ji padhaar rahi hain!" (which, on a side note, is so... umm... why???) -- and the Headmistress came and took her seat and called the first question -- well, that's usually the cue for the troublemakers to make noise about whatever it is that they want to make noise about on a given day. But unlike Senapati Kharge, Prince RaGa doesn't understand why he needs to be in his seat on time :P And thus, for the first time since the NDA Govt took over, Question Hour was conducted today without even a token disruption. Take a bow, RaGa! As any TV-type folks can tell you -- the top of the hour is a very important concept. Which is why, even if RaGa entered the House anytime after 11am and before 12noon, the troublemakers can't make trouble before the Question Hour is over. But they didn't make any noise even AFTER the Question Hour ended o.O In fact, they waited patiently for a bunch of papers to be laid on the table -- an activity that usually goes unnoticed because of the disruption in the House. They even waited for Gadkari to finish making a statement. And then, finally, RaGa got to his feet... Junkie will say the rest directly to him. Dear RaGa, What swag, I thought, when you started with your slight poke at Gadkari. What a dude, I told myself, the man who has transformed himself in 57 days to be the post-Afghanistan-Tony-Stark of Indian Parliament! Not just I, the nation believed in your self made super powers for two glorious days! And then when you said, "Main ab jo bolne waala hun, woh bhi aapko achcha lagega," I kid you not RaGa, I was literally biting my nails to hear what gems you had on you this time. And then you followed it up with "Maine TIME Magazine dekhi." For a second there, I thought you were on some self-deprecating humour trip. "You'll be happy to know that I've seen a TIME Magazine Ha Ha!" kinda thing. But Pappu RaGa yaar, what the hell was that? Classwork doesn't work like this! Oh-bay-ma? Gorbachev? MGNREGA even here? Tell me, did you have a flashback moment to that interview with Arnab, and did the trauma force you to say 'Net ka Adhikaar' instead of 'Soochna ka Adhikaar'? Did they tell you to own #NetNeutrality as a UPA thing, your fancy advisors who clearly didn't explain this who net-shet thingy to you properly? Matlab, kya tha yeh? And here's the thing, kabhi homework bhi kar liya karo. It was supposed to be an ADJOURNMENT MOTION! You were supposed to ask them to ask the Govt to call a discussion on the damn thing! Bechara Jay Panda -- he's been trying to call attention to the issue before you usurped it even tweeted in excitement before you went and spoke for less than 3 minutes and sat down like an obedient child. Learn from the other troublemakers, RaGa. The Nation is watching, amiriteorwat? No love lost, Junkie Parliament| April 21, 2015| 11:45 Hours| South Delhi Mean Time As is usual, there was some screaming and shouting in Lok Sabha today. What's not usual is that it was the cheerleaders disrupting the House today. Even more unusually, they weren't even screaming at the opposition! So what exactly was happening, you ask, as Jay Panda kept repeating to the Speaker, "Madam, I want your protection!"? Fair warning: You should sit down for this one. Ready? So Headmistress Sumitra ji did not allow much questioning and cross questioning on 'Crop Loss Due to Natural Calamities'. *Shudder* How dare she, right?! So what if the agrarian crisis was discussed in detail yesterday in the House? So what if it was discussed -- with the same points -- in the first half of the Budget session, last month? So what if it was discussed in the Winter Session before that, and the Monsoon Session before that? Like Rahul Gandhi did not say, #FarmersBeVoteBanks, and #ParliamentBeBleedingHeartForKisaans. What comes of these discussions? Junkie aint sure. Well, except the assurance to our Netas' constituents that MPs *do care* for the common folks. Aap ki baat uthai hai! Outcome? Huh? What? Parliament| April 20, 2015| 17:00 Hours| South Delhi Mean Time For once, the troublemakers looked like they had something to cheer about. Their knight in shining armour had arrived, speech in hand, wit on tongue, to take on the 'Acche Din Sarkaar'. Granted, no one missed the constant prompting in Maharaja Scindia ji's baritone. Perhaps there wasn't even much that was original in Baba's Speech. But that hardly mattered for the opposition, as the 'future' sat surrounding Rahul -- banging the tables on cue, crying 'Shame! Shame!' when the script called for it. Scindia to the left, Deepender Hooda and Gaurav Gogoi right behind, and Sushmita Dev in the background. For his second speech of the 16th Lok Sabha, Rahul came with an arsenal of dialogues, and advice for the Prime Minister. If he had tweeted it out, it could be summed up in 140 characters thus: Dear Modi, Why you no political savvy? #Farmersbevotebanks As soon as Rahul finished speaking, Class Teacher Naidu got up to speak his bit on behalf of farmers. But his alliterations and rhymes have made many a south Indian wonder: Is Venkiah ji a fan of TR, or Superstar? Sample this: "Headline in the media cannot be deadline to us. We have our own line." People spoke, BJP yelled, Congress yelled back... But nothing -- not even Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh's "welcome back to India" could wipe that dimpled smile off Rahul Gandhi's face after his speech. Junkie feels it. It's the smile one had plastered on one's face after one didn't fail the Chemistry class test for the first time. Amen! Parliament| April 20, 2015| 17:00 Hours| South Delhi Mean Time Did you miss me? :D For anyone wondering where this junkie was, let me confirm that a 57 day meditative tour of Bangkok was not where I was. Not that I didn't try to solve that very interesting and completely necessary mystery over where this one MP from one constituency, with a marvelously below average performance by all metrics was for a couple of months... I mean, it's the one question whose answer would have enlightened the nation's collective consciousness. But alas, can junkie succeed where the Special Investigation Teams of Media couldn't? Fear not, though. Just like the calls for a designated 'Maafi Hour' in Parliament, junkie is back and here to stay (for the rest of the session). So what happened on the first day back to school? 1. Troublemakers decided to stick to the script on Day 1, and demanded the resignation of a Minister, and an apology from the Prime Minister, over the pathetically sexist 'white skin' comment by Giriraj SIngh. Their slogan: Mahilaon ka apman nahi sahenge! Nahi sahenge! Nahi sahenge! (To which, another Parliament watcher asks, "Lekin ghar jake wahi karenge? Wahi karenge? Wahi karenge?") 2. The Class Teacher and the Headmistress said the right words about how cheerleader-in-trouble Giriraj Singh's statements were in bad taste. However, the punishment for sexism apparently is the Parliament equivalent of writing lines: Giriraj Singh expressed regret 'if' his statements hurt anyone, which was so not the intention yo! 3. Troublemakers quickly changed track to screaming and shouting about that Land Acquisition Bill, no wait, ordinance, or was it the new Bill after the hundredth ordinance? 4. Lunch! Finally, lunch! 5. All eyes are on the empty seats to fill up at 4pm: RaGa, apparently, is going to improve his debate performance by 100% today, and take the total number of times he's spoken in the 16th Lok Sabha to a staggering TWO.