The Congress party's new leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, has not had the best of times within his party. Chowdhury is a five-time Lok Sabha member, but barely a matriculate. There were at least two to three contenders who thought they should have been elected the party's leader in the Lok Sabha but the support of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi tipped the scales in Chowdhury’s favour. On Monday, Chowdhury was the lead speaker of his party on the discussion on the motion of thanks on the President's address. He made a couple of bloopers, including one where he seemed to have insulted the PM. The comment was later expunged. However, his speech, earthy sense of irony and humour won the day. As Chowdhury concluded the speech, Sonia Gandhi, who sits next to him in the Lok Sabha, congratulated him on a good speech and told others that was exactly why she thought she would sit through.
Sarangi’s first pitch
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday fielded Minister of State Pratap Chandra Sarangi (pictured) as its lead speaker in the Lok Sabha for the discussion on the motion of thanks on the President's address to the joint sitting of Parliament. Sarangi, MP from Balasore, is known as “Odisha's Modi” and is famous for his frugal lifestyle. Sarangi, who knows five languages, had planned to speak in Hindi. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who also hails from Odisha, to ask Sarangi whether he could speak in English. According to sources, the PM was keen that the world should know that Sarangi, the “rustic” politician, was fluent in English. Sarangi told Pradhan on the phone that he was indeed fluent in English and on Pradhan’s request, demonstrated his English skills to the oil minister for several minutes. Sarangi was then asked to speak in English for the initial few minutes of his speech, which he did.
Last week’s incident where a man attacked a group of policemen with a sword before being overpowered and assaulted by them in North Delhi was captured on camera and the footage of the assault was shared multiple times. Despite the provocation, some in Delhi Police feel that the response from the policemen, some of them now suspended, dented the police’s image. The post facto analysis revealed that one reason for the aggressive police behaviour was that many young recruits in the constabulary were sent directly to the police stations as beat constables. Officers feel that dealing with the public without being well versed with police functioning and conduct can result in violent situations. They are now considering sending fresh graduates from police training college to units such as battalions — where they would deal with law and order arrangements under the watch of seniors or ferry undertrials to jail or court — before being posted at police stations.