In the age of e-mail, two constitutional functionaries of Madhya Pradesh — Chief Minister Kamal Nath and governor Lalji Tandon (pictured) — are probably trying to revive the lost era of letter writing. In the last one week itself, both have written several letters to one another. On Monday, Tandon wrote to Nath, asking him to hold a floor test on Tuesday and stating that failure to do so would mean the chief minister did not enjoy a majority in the Assembly. On Tuesday, Nath replied: “Keeping into account all facts, I have forwarded your direction to me to the Assembly Speaker for an appropriate action.” He also marked a copy of this letter to the Speaker, N P Prajapati. Before this exchange, Nath had shot off a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “Please use your power as the Union Home Minister so that Congress MLAs held captive can safely reach Madhya Pradesh and participate in the Assembly session without any allurement and fear,” he said.
Punish and revoke
After Jyotiraditya Scindia quit the Congress to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a bunch of expelled Uttar Pradesh Congressmen have petitioned the central leadership of the party to revoke their expulsion on charges of indiscipline. Addressing the Congress Disciplinary Committee, they wrote that they had served the party through thick and thin for about 35 years and their expulsion by the state unit was against the party constitution. Demanding an internal probe into the matter and asking for adequate punishment for the guilty, the erstwhile old guards have alleged a deep-rooted conspiracy behind their expulsion. Meanwhile, there are indications that the party could take them back.
Virus & Parliament
Trinamool Congress MPs on Wednesday came to the Rajya Sabha wearing protective face masks and were asked by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to remove them immediately. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram urged Naidu to allow them to decide on the use of protective gear, depending on their perception of vulnerability, and the Chair relented. Opposition MPs suggested the Budget session be curtailed to practise social distancing, as advocated by the government, to limit the spread of COVID-19. The government, however, was unmoved. The Congress’ M V Rajeev Gowda said the Rajya Sabha had many senior citizens as members, an age cohort considered extremely vulnerable to coronavirus. Privately, some members also told Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar that he should stop attending the session since he was 80 and fell in the “high risk” category. Members also discussed the efficacy of ayurveda and homoeopathy.