The eight opposition MPs who staged a sit-in after being suspended in the Rajya Sabha for creating a ruckus over the farm bills formed a WhatsApp group to keep in touch with one another. The groups is called Eight and Safe.
The only one of the eight MPs who made friends with the rest was TMC MP Dola Sen, a trade unionist. Congress MP Rajeev Satav, whose birthday coincidentally was on the day of the dharna, also got to cut his cake once the cameras left. Congress leader Digvijaya Singh spent the longest time hanging around with the protesting MPs. He was the first to arrange for dhoklas and sandwiches for the eight. Food came in plenty, with many leaders across the opposition parties pitching in. The eight remained safe, too.
Rahul Gandhi skipped the monsoon session of Parliament and was not much missed, either in his own party or elsewhere. In his absence, Priyanka Gandhi took centrestage. There is a buzz that Priyanka may go for a darshan at Pithambara Peeth at Datia in Madhya Pradesh, where crucial Assembly by-elections will be held. The Gwalior-Chambal and Bundelkhand region of the state shares a boundary with Uttar Pradesh which has been Priyanka’s “karmabhoomi” of sorts.
Post for Dr Kafeel
Priyanka was photographed with Dr Kafeel who was acquitted by the High Court recently after a prolonged period of harassment and imprisonment by the Yogi Adityanath regime. Priyanka reportedly wants Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot to accommodate Dr Kafeel as an assistant professor in Rajasthan. Gehlot is in a dilemma. He does not want to say no to Priyanka but at the same time he is wary of any communal backlash in his state.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has virtually been singled out among the G-23 dissenters within the Congress, is almost certain that he is not returning to the Rajya Sabha. So a day before the monsoon session ended a week ahead of schedule, the former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister got a chance to speak.
Instead of beginning with the topic Azad, who is also leader of the opposition in the Upper House, opened his speech by saying that if the Covid pandemic continues and the winter session is postponed, this may be his last speech in the Rajya Sabha.
Congress insiders say Azad’s term is ending in February 2021 and he has no chance to return simply because there are no vacancies. However, Congress party leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is all set to continue in spite of becoming Bengal party chief. Apparently the party leadership wants him to go to West Bengal in a position of power and the floor leader's position gives him that political heft, they argue.
Best female performer
The BJP Parliamentary Board is set to be expanded in view of some vacancies. Many are eyeing the singular woman’s slot. Ironic as it may sound, some leading lights of the BJP women parliamentarians reportedly draw comfort from the poor state of economy in the context of parliamentary board vacancy. In their wisdom, prospects of Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman making the cut have receded due to the minister’s inability to accelerate the economy.
Modi's long beard
Why is Prime Minister Narendra Modi not trimming his beard? A personal choice seems to have become a subject matter of intense speculation and discussion. Some think it may have to do with a “mannat” [a secret special prayer] where the seeker often stops trimming hair. Going by this view, the Prime Minister is seeking divine help and wishing for a coronavirus-free India at the earliest.