Delhi Confidential: Doing It Right

Keen to encourage young and new lawmakers to participate in parliamentary proceedings and debate, he urges them to give notices on time and speak on issues.

EVER SINCE he took charge as Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla has taken extra care in being a non-partisan and unbiased presiding officer. Keen to encourage young and new lawmakers to participate in parliamentary proceedings and debate, he urges them to give notices on time and speak on issues. During the Budget debate, when YSRCP MP Margani Bharat spoke, another BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal was on chair. In his speech, Bharat reminded the government about the Centre’s promises to Andhra Pradesh, including special category status, which has been a bone of contention. He criticised the Centre for not granting the special category status and the increase in fuel prices. Yet, the Speaker called Bharat, a first-time MP from Rajamundry in Andhra Pradesh, to his chamber to praise him for his speech.

French Ties

AS THE French embassy in Delhi celebrates the French National Day this year, they may have Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale as the chief guest. While there was no chief guest last year, then Minister of State (external Affairs) M J Akbar was chief guest in 2017 and 2016. This year, France is expecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the G-7 summit in France, and Delhi will be sending a strong signal of solidarity by sending its topmost diplomat to the embassy on July 14.

Hitting Back

TRUST CONGRESS leaders, even new entrants, to bring internal politics into every conversation. Formal or informal, they never tire of taking snipes at rivals in the party. Praveen Chakravarty, head of the party’s Data Analytics Department, has been under attack ever since Congress’s disastrous poll performance. Many in the party had been accusing him and his department of misleading Rahul Gandhi into believing that the party would cross the 150-mark. Against that backdrop, Chakravarty’s tweet on the Indian cricket team’s defeat against New Zealand made interesting reading. He said Virat Kohli’s team had a string of wins and fought hard in the semifinal but lost. Then he added: “Wisely, the team’s support staff is not being blamed solely for this defeat.”

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