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PM Narendra Modi sits through Hamid Ansari critique, interacts only with BJP MPs

The prime minister acknowledged the greetings of his party MPs as he walked in to occupy a seat beside Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi |
December 17, 2016 3:11:57 am
Narendra Modi, Hamid Ansari, BJP MPs, Arun Jaitley, Rajya Sabha, lok sabha, Parliament, Narendra Modi Rajya Sabha, india news, indian express Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Anant KUMAR after the Parliament Board Meeting during the Parlaiment. Express photo By Renuka Puri.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who sat in Rajya Sabha for about 10 minutes before it was adjourned sine die Friday, walked out without interacting with any MPs beyond those of his own party. Modi, whose presence inside the House has been one of the consistent sticking points of the month-long deadlock in Parliament, entered the House about 10 minutes after it had started the day’s proceedings, soon after an obituary reference had been made to a former MP.

The prime minister acknowledged the greetings of his party MPs as he walked in to occupy a seat beside Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. All eyes on him, Modi sat down in the seat. As the prime minister listened to the papers being laid, a member of the Rajya Sabha staff placed a glass of water in front of him. Occasionally, the PM spoke to the finance minister but did not speak to anybody else around him. He listened intently to the valedictory remarks by an upset Hamid Ansari, the Rajya Sabha chairman, who criticised MPs for the disruption of the winter session.

“I had fervently hoped that I would not have to repeat what I said at the conclusion of 221st session in December 2010. My hope stands belied,” Ansari said. He had last week criticised the agitating treasury benches: “How can honourable ministers agitate?”

The discussion on demonetisation, which was started on the first day of the session, remained inconclusive, Ansari pointed out in his valedictory remarks. It was over Modi’s presence that the debate was never allowed to recommence though, at a later stage, the Opposition changed its demand to one for an apology from the PM for remarks make outside the House.

On Friday, Modi remained seated as Ansari read out his critique. Once the national song Vande Mataram had been sung at about 11.20 am, Modi left through the door behind the chairman’s seat. He had not made eye contact with or greeted any member of the Opposition benches, which had among other Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. Jaitley, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and other BJP MPs followed Modi out.

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