Somnath or Shiva – take your pick


New Delhi : What’s common between Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and Lord Shiva? A lot, says Chatterjee!

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When the Lok Sabha Business Advisory Committee (BAC) was discussing holidays for Mahashivaratri, the birthday of Lord Shiva observed Thursday, MPs wanted Friday to be declared an off too so they could spend the weekend at their hometowns.

But Chatterjee, who is very particular that the house should sit as many days as possible, was unwilling.

“You can pour water on me because I am also Somnath (another name for Lord Shiva),” he reportedly said.

According to sources, an amused Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said: “Sir, we can always do it. But it would not be nice to pour so much water on you!”

The speaker had to finally give in and has declared that the Lok Sabha would not be sitting Thursday and Friday.

Incidentally, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has reportedly cited another reason for a holiday. He wants to attend his niece’s wedding in Patna.


CPI saves on airfare, turns to net

While the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) sent Sitaram Yechury as its representative to the Working Group meeting of the International Communist and Workers’ Parties in Lisbon last month, its ally, the Communist Party of India (CPI), preferred to stay away.

CPI leaders said they wanted to save the money for the upcoming party congress in Hyderabad later this month. “Sending one person would have cost us Rs.40,000. We wanted to save that money,” said a party leader.

The meeting was to finalise the agenda for their international meet, which will take place later this year.

“After all, why should we send a person. This is the age of IT and we can send everything by e-mail. So why should we take the trouble to send one person there,” asked the leader.

Communists are turning out to be net savvy!


You’re on tape, Arjun Singh warns scribes

Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh may be aging and ailing and his critics may be alleging that he is too old to handle such an active ministry, but the Congress veteran appears to be even more attentive these days.

Being a minister who has been “misquoted” quite often, the HRD minister is making the extra effort to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Scribes who want to talk to him are welcomed by a tape recorder on his table, which will record the entire conversation.

“He is not hiding the tape-recorder. It will be kept on the table so others can see it,” said an aide.