How Sonia’s presence makes Congress MPs behave

March 3rd, 2008 - 8:09 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi
(From the corridors of power)

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Some Congress MPs, it seems, are like schoolchildren and behave properly only when party president Sonia Gandhi is around. On Monday, when a debate in parliament on a motion of thanks to President Pratibha Patil’s address to the joint session began, only a few party MPs seemed to have taken it seriously.

They were talking to each other, running commentaries and some found time to catch up on sleep. Suddenly, Surendra Goyal, seating in the middle row, spotted Gandhi sitting at the corner of the backbench observing her party MPs. He gestured others and in no time the MPs became “good boys”.

Congress whip Krishna Tirath, who was speaking at that time, also got the message that Gandhi was listening to her speech. Tirath then remembered the contributions to the country made by the Nehru-Gandhi family - right from first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, to Indira Gandhi to Sonia’s late husband Rajiv Gandhi.

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Chatterjee wants to quit

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is really a worried man now. His incessant warnings and rebukes over how the MPs should behave in the house do not seem to have sunk in. On Monday, as some MPs started showing signs of unruly behaviour over a discussion on the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) tirade against north Indians, Chatterjee warned them repeatedly that he would adjourn the house if they did not behave.

“It is very unfortunate. Nobody is listening to me. Everybody wants to speak!” the speaker told the MPs as he was trying to control the proceedings. However, the pandemonium continued.

An exasperated speaker asked: “What kind of a job have you given to me? I want to get rid of it.”

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Ministers were tense before budget

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram appeared to have put his colleagues in the party and the government on tenterhooks till the last moment of his budget presentation. The Congress and its allies in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had collectively decided to provide a major relief package for farmers in the budget. However, ally leaders had remained sceptical, as they “did not trust Chidambaram well”.

A tense Railway Minister Lalu Prasad reportedly telephoned foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee on the eve of the budget presentation to ensure that there would be a lot of populist measures. Mukherjee apparently pacified Prasad and said that the Congress would keep its word.

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