Friday, August 20, 2010


20 Aug 2010


From Our Delhi Bureau

NEW DELHI: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad's dream of becoming one day the Prime Minister of India came true on Friday when he took over as the "elected Prime Minister of People's Government" and put BJP leader Gopinath munde in the Speaker's chair to conduct a mock session of Parliament after Deputy Speaker Karia Munda adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day due to rumpus over the MPs' salary hike.

After a brief sitting, he announced that members of the "new government" will meet again on Saturday at 10 am to discuss and grant the salary hike to the MPs. "There was no leader of the Opposition nor any Opposition party as ours is a national government, with all participants as members of the treasury benches," Lalu Prasad told reporters.

Lalu Prasad and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Prasad were in the well with the party MPs in the regular session earlier to plead that they should be heard on the Government insulting the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) by diluting its recommendation to raise the MPs salary to Rs 80,001, one rupee more than the government secretaries.

The BJP members joined them in an impromptu "dharna" (sit-in) in the well after the Deputy Speaker ended the official sitting of the House and it was at this stage that a bright idea struck to Lalu to become the PM and urge Mulayam help "Speaker" Munde conduct the proceedings in which some 70 MPs participated. Among those told by Munde to wind up speech fast for paucity of time included BJP member Maneka Gandhi.

The mike system in the Lok Sabha hall was switched off, but it mattered little as everyone raised voice to participate in a brief debate condemning the "outgoing" UPA government for "undemocratic and unconstitutional" way it got passed two important Bills -- Medical Council Bill and Trade Marks (Amendment) Bill -- without any debate.

Lalu Prasad strongly objecting to a reporter asking about sanctity of the farce, asserting that he was elected "prime minister for today." As for Saturday, he said: "We will see what is to be done tomorrow. I heard the views of the 'House' and the people's government decided to reject outright the bills cleared today," he affirmed.

He said MPs not allowed to be heard except when the UPA government consented had no choice but to form the "people's government" to carry on their agenda and reverse the business conducted by the ousted government.




By Delhi correspondent

The brainwave to take over as the PM came to Lalu Prasad when the MPs on "dharna" in the House well praised him for providing leadership in fight for the salary hike. "OK, I am your leader. I will fulfil all your demands," Lalu declared and treated their clapping as accepting him as the "prime minister."

Immediately after the House was earlier adjourned by the deputy speaker, the opposition leaders rushed to the Speaker's chamber, just behind the podium, to protest but Meira Kumar was not present. They returned to the House and Mulayam and Munde squatted on the floor with the MPs while Lalu stood there, exhorting them to stay put through the day and night.

Thus began the mock session. Lalu wanted it to go on but Mulayam chose to adjourn the House until 10 am on Saturday after a brief discussion, telling the presiding Munde why the MPs should stay for long hours until they get better salary. Munde agreed to allow discussion on the subject first when the House reassembles on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal blasted Lalu, Mulayam and Munde for enacting a "theatre of the absurd" in the highest temple of democracy, making excuse of the Bills passed in din without debate.

He said there have been many occasions when the Bills are passed without debate due to pandemonium and urgency of passing the Medical Council Bill was necessary as the Ordinance promulgated earlier would have otherwise lapsed.


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