Parliament diary: Modi’s Renuka barb costs Rajya Sabha, faulting Rafale, Sonia Gandhi on alliances

The Prime Minister’s rather sharp comeback on Renuka Chowdhury’s loud laugh in the background of his Wednesday speech, cost the Rajya Sabha half-a-day Thursday.

Published: 09th February 2018 05:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2018 10:19 AM   |  A+A-

Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi (File | PTI)

Express News Service


Modi’s Renuka barb costs Rajya Sabha a day

The Prime Minister’s rather sharp comeback on Renuka Chowdhury’s loud laugh in the background of his Wednesday speech, cost the Rajya Sabha half-a-day Thursday. Pulled up by Rahul Gandhi for taking the slight on a woman MP lying down, the Congress first took to Twitter and followed it up with House disruption. Not that Chowdhury needed any helping hand. (A few remembered how Chowdhury had stood up in the House to exemplify Jaipal Reddy’s famous usage ‘humongous’.

Then PM Vajpayee had only asked what the word meant.) So true to her stature, Chowdhury vowed to hunt Minister Kiran Rijuju down, for making explicit what the PM had kept implicit. But with other MPs intervening, Rijuju escaped with a mere threat of privilege motion. Well, that was not all. FM Arun Jaitley too came in the line of fire for suggestively asking Chowdhury when her RS term was ending. She quipped: “Whenever it does, I won’t be applying for BJP membership!”

Faulting Rafale

FM Arun Jaitley’s other charge, the Congress was comprising national security, ‘manufacturing’ a controversy on the Rafale deal, had few takers in the Opposition. Even the reticent A K Antony broke his silence to disagree that there could be a parallel between the “secrecy’’ clause cited Pranab Mukherjee on the Indo-Israel missile deal, during the UPA tenure, and the Rafale deal. “We’re not asking for weaponry or fittings details, just how much it is costing the exchequer. People have a right to know.’’ Antony also let it be known that it was on the issue of “lifetime maintenance’’ clause, the signing of the Rafale deal got delayed.

Sonia on alliances

Though Sonia Gandhi chose to underline that Rahul Gandhi was now the boss of the Congress party, on alliances for 2019 there was little doubt, she would be the lead voice. In fact, the last paragraph of her CPP speech caught everyone’s attention. It was an exact repetition of the 2003 Shimla Shankalp. That’s when Congress had decided for the first time, to opt for a joint front of all secular forces against the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

Sanjay up!

Rajya Sabha freshman, AAP’s Sanjay Singh who created quite a stir with his blistering maiden speech, became the toast of the opposition MPs on Thursday. His no-holds-bar attack on the BJP/PM was rated as fiery, and may even help bring his party close to the GOP, at least in Parliament.

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