off the record

off the record

The winning seats

Where you sit and which seat you occupy is important in the two Houses of Parliament. Your stature or seniority and that of your party gets reflected where you sit. Most seniors of parties which are well-represented in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha occupy front rows in the two chambers. There is also behind the scene jockeying for these seats. However, it is the Speaker in Lok Sabha and the Chairman in Rajya Sabha who allot the seats.

The latest to suffer from the seat allocation procedures is CPI leader D Raja who used to occupy the front row.

From the first day of the winter session, however, he was told to sit in the second row. The reason- NCP has overtaken CPI by one seat. CPI has five MPs in the 275-member House. Raja is now replaced by NCP leader Tariq Anwar.

In the other House,  former minister Jaswant Singh was alloted the front row following
the recommendation of his then party—the BJP—after the LS elections in May.
However, he was soon thrown out of the party for his favourable remarks his book on Pakistan founder Mohd Ali Jinnah.

After this, the BJP wrote to the Speaker to take away the front-row seat. Singh now has been allotted the fifth row but he has not been cited during the first four days of the winter session. The BJP also wanted the Speaker to relieve him of the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament but Meira Kumar has refused to heed to the party advice.

B S Arun, New Delhi

Of honey and hunter

Unlike his arch-rival Lalu Prasad, JD (U) strongman Nitish Kumar is known as a serious Chief Minister, whose actions speak more than mere rhetorics.

But recently he displayed his sense of wit and humour to a motley group of journalist who had called on him on completion of his four years at the helm of Bihar. After exchanging pleasantries, one of the journos asked him as to why leaders of Bihar like Lalu, Paswan and Nitish were spearheading the poll campaign in neighbouring Jharkhand; and what will be the outcome of investigations of Madhu Koda’s amassed assets?

Pat came his reply: “All those who have tasted Madhu (honey) for the last three years should now be ready to get Koda (hunter) from the electorate.” The apparent reference was Lalu and the cohorts of Congress.

Abhay Kumar, Patna

Two-minute Maggie

Madam Margaret Alva sure has a special relationship with madam Gandhi at 10, Janpath. Some time ago, she accused her own party of “selling” tickets to the highest bidders during elections and yet, after after serving a brief time in the doghouse, was rewarded with the Uttarkhand’s governorship and that’s what she’s now.

A politician from Karnataka, she can’t obviously forget her roots and she was in Bangalore last Monday. Nothing wrong in paying visits to your home state, one would say, except that she raised a lot of eyebrows in political cricles by meeting chief minister B S Yeddyurappa at his home office. One prickly question it raised was: What official dealing the governor of Uttarkhand had with the chief minister of Karnataka? More seriously, since CMs are supposed to call on governors and not vice verse, wasn’t Maggie guilty of breach of protocol?

According to political grapevine, since legislative council elections are coming up, Maggie was keen to see that the BJP put up one of her favourite candidates against her political rivals in Congress in her home district of Uttara kannada and that’s reason why she spent some time with BSY.

Who says governors are beyond politics?

RK Upadhya, Bangalore

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