Day 1 in new Parliament building- Excitement, tablets and a dose of protest over a mic that fell silent
Splash of excitement, a bit of confusion, some chanting that was gently brought down and complaints over a mic that fell silent. In a nutshell, it was more than business as usual for the MPs on the first day in the new Parliament building on Tuesday.
As they walked into the new Lok Sabha, many MPs were seen checking out the seats and tech devices placed in front of them. Some were more interested in the Sengol installed in the House, and the big screens on both sides of Speaker Om Birla’s chair. Some of the MPs found other talking points- the green carpets with peacock motifs and the huge windows near the ceiling embossed with the national bird.
Before the House met officially, many of the MPs from the ruling as well as the opposition sides were seen clicking pictures, with the younger members helping the seniors in getting the right angle and light shade.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was the most sought after as his party MPs patiently waited for their turn to be clicked with him. Rahul, who largely wore a serious look, then took his seat and engaged in a conversation with party colleague Kodikkunnil Suresh, who was seen explaining something animatedly.
Sonia Gandhi, who was seated in the first row for the Central Hall function earlier in the day, was not present.
The Congress members were amused to see two of their party colleagues from the Rajya Sabha – Rajiv Shukla and Rajni Patil – inside the Lok Sabha chamber. Finding themselves in the wrong chamber, both exited quickly.
Among those in the visitors’ gallery was actor Kangana Ranaut, who was present to witness the introduction of the women’s Bill.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered the Lok Sabha with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and other ministers, the BJP MPs gave him a loud welcome by thumping desks, much to the discomfort of the opposition members. Soon came chants of ‘Modi, Modi’ from the women seated in the visitors’ gallery.
The opposition MPs sprang from their seats, asking ‘what is this?’, ‘what is happening’, pointing towards the gallery.
The Prime Minister was seen giving directions to his ministers to calm down the visitors. Shah called both Gajendra Shekhawat and Anurag Thakur to see to it that the visiting women sat there quietly.
As the Prime Minister announced the women’s Bill, it brought jubilation in the treasury benches. But the House did not miss the usual slogan shouting and protests. Shah and other ministers objected to Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury’s remark that the Bill, which was passed by Rajya Sabha in 2010, still stands. As the ministers protested, backbenchers from the Congress side were heard shouting- ‘Sit there and listen to him.’
Shah argued that what Chowdhury said was factually wrong as the Bill, moved to Lok Sabha for consideration and passing after being cleared by the Rajya Sabha, lapsed with the dissolution of 15th Lok Sabha. Chowdhury tried to explain, but his mic fell silent, leading to protests from his party MPs.
The Congress MPs rushed towards the centre of the House, shouting slogans such as ‘Nahi chalega, tanashahi nahi chalega’. They returned to their seats only after Speaker Birla directed the staff to ensure that the mic was switched on.
But the House plunged into pandemonium again when Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal stood up to introduce the Bill. The opposition members complained that they have not been handed copies of the Bill.
‘Where is the Bill?’ shouted AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi and others joined him. Amid the chaos, the Speaker said a digital copy of the 128th Amendment Bill was uploaded on the member’s portal in advance and they can access it on the tablet placed before them.
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However, many MPs could not figure out how to open the portal. As Owaisi continued to argue that he did not get it, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey came running to his seat to show how to access the portal. Dubey then went on to help other senior leaders, including Home Minister Shah, NCP leader Supriya Sule, TMC leader Kalyan Banerjee and DMK’s T R Baalu.
While the younger MPs figured out how to operate the tablet, many senior MPs were seen fiddling with the screen. SP MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq received a walk-through from NC leader Hasnain Masoodi on how to use it.
Once the House was adjourned, the BJP MPs praised both the magnificence of the new building. But the opposition MPs were heard complaining about the ‘lack of warmth and the absence of open space’ in the new building.
(News Source -Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Times Of Nation staff and is published from a indianexpress.com feed.)
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