Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday made an unusual gesture in welcoming Trinamool Congress member Swagat Roy in the house during the Question Hour.
Calling up his name to ask supplementary question, Speaker Mahajan said: “Swagat Royji, aap ka swagat hai (Swagat Roy, you are welcome back)”.
The Trinamool Congress front bench leaders, including the likes of Swagat Roy, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Kalyan Banerjee, have been missing in the session due to ongoing assembly elections in West Bengal.
As some members laughed mildly at the chair’s special observation on the vocal Trinamol member, the speaker also said, “Bahut mehnat karke ayen hain (He has returned after hard work in elections)”.
Ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal is locked in a fierce triangular electoral contest with the Left-Congress combine on one side and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the other.
The Trinamool Congress had stayed away from last Saturday’s all-party meeting convened by the speaker.
Meanwhile, the chair disallowed a discussion on the AgustaWestland helicoper deal in the house.
The Congress members demanded a discussion on the deal, saying allegations have been levelled against the party’s top leaders.
As soon as the house took up the question hour, Congress floor leader Mallikarjun Kharge said all newspapers have the news item regarding the VVIP helicopter deal and allegations have been levelled against party leaders.
Mahajan said the issue can be raised after the question hour.
The Congress has maintained that the UPA government had taken action once reports of wrongdoings and allegations of corrupt practices surfaced in 2012.
Meanwhile, BJP members Anurag Thakur and Meenakshi Lekhi have also given separate notices demanding discussion in the house on the chopper deal.
BJP leaders have said “truth” must come out in the case. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is likely to make a statement in the Lok Sabha when the issue comes up for discussion.