The Budget session of the Lok Sabha is starting from Monday the 7th of July, 2014. The Congress, we know, has threatened to make it a stormy one on what I call the LOO principle. Apparently, the convention is that the LOO goes to the party that has at least ten percent of the seats in the Lok Sabha, which in this case amounts to 55 members. However, having fallen short by 11, there is no guarantee that the Speaker will allot this LOO to the Congress party. The Congress, on its part, has threatened to knock on the doors of the courts in case Mrs. Sumitra Mahajan declines them this facility.
I accept honourous responsibility as Speaker with all humility and express my gratitude towards all parties for their unanimous support.
— Sumitra Mahajan (@SumitraTai) June 7, 2014
One would wonder why the Congress is so desperate to get this allotment. Most of their leaders who suffer from the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Manish Tiwari, Kapil Sibal, Digvijay Singh, etc., will not be required to be present in the Lok Sabha; and should have no need for the LOO.
They can relieve themselves of the verbal diarrhoea in the TV studios of obliging channels. Those who will be present, like the two Gandhis, and a few odd ones from here and there, are verbally comatose, and hence will have no need for it.
It was while watching Kamal Nath, the MP from Chhindwara, crossing swords with Karan Thapar on Headlines Today that it dawned upon me as to why he, of all the Congress MP’s, was so keen on getting the LOO allotted to his party. Kamal Nath is one of those who has the IBS and who will need to use the facility frequently.
LOOs come with many other perquisites, and in Lutyen’s Delhi, perks are what really matter. Montek Singh Ahluwalia has already become a sort of trend-setter having spent a whopping 32 lakhs of the taxpayer’s hard-earned money on just one such perk. Kamal Nath would naturally like to keep the tradition going. The heir-apparent, like Prufrock in T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste land,” has time and again given us a glimpse of his own personal dilemma:
“And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair –
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”
With the heir-apparent certain to abdicate once more, and the party President not inclined to bid for such a trivial perquisite, as it would be below the dignity of her office, the MP from Chhindwara (now enjoying his proverbial 9th life in the Lok Sabha) is fancying his chances and can hardly keep his non-existent whiskers away from the tempting bowl of cream.
That is why he was arguing vigorously (though not very convincingly) that his party should be offered the perk of the Leader of the Opposition (LOO) whether it is deserved or not. I am not sure if Ms. Mahajan would be willing to oblige.
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