Several members of the Lok Sabha on Thursday spoke of a monkey menace, both in the Lutyens’ zone, where they have their official bungalows, as well as at pilgrimage sites. During the Zero Hour, Mathura MP Hema Malini said her constituents, particularly in Vrindavan, faced this situation. She said sterilisation attempts had made monkeys “violent”, and suggested that a monkey safari be set up there. Lok Janshakti Party MP Chirag Paswan said monkey terror in the Lutyens’ zone was such that children could not play outdoors. “And all this is happening as we destroyed their homes (forests). Now they have entered our homes,” he said. Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay recounted how during a visit to Haridwar, a monkey took away the glasses he was wearing, and returned them only after a shopkeeper offered packaged fruit juice to it.
People whose seats are behind supporting pillars in the Lok Sabha got an opportunity on Thursday to speak during the Question Hour and Zero Hour. Raj Bahadur Singh, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member from Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, said he was khamba peedit or “pillar victim” because one such structure blocked his view of the rest of the House, and, more importantly, the cameras that covered the proceedings. The BJP’s B P Saroj, an MP from Uttar Pradesh, also spoke standing behind a pillar. Some MPs said the problem would be solved once the new Parliament building came up. During the last session, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal had softened the feelings of such members by telling them how those who sat behind pillars achieved great success, giving the examples of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Speaker Om Birla, both of whom sat behind a pillar.
Naidu’s tough stand
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also chairman of the Rajya Sabha, has taken a serious note of absenteeism on the part of MPs in the meetings of parliamentary standing committees and select committees. Naidu has asked for the attendance records of all Rajya Sabha MPs. He is set to write to House leaders of political parties to ensure better attendance in committee meetings. According to rules, MPs can be sacked from committee membership if they do not attend two meetings in succession, which could be invoked if absenteeism continues.