MPs bid adieu amid Mulayam’s twist

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SP leader wishes for PM Modi’s return at valedictory meeting ahead of the Lok Sabha election

The valedictory sessions of Houses of Legislature are a mixture of camaraderie and piquant uncertainties of whether one will be re-elected. Party positions are gently reiterated, but good wishes are also exchanged for being in the same cohort again.

The last day of the 16th Lok Sabha saw all this and more, with Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mulayam Singh walking away with the House’s attention after he praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed the hope that he would be elected to the post again.

‘Yadav’s blessings’

“It has been my experience that Prime Minister Modi has helped me every time I have sought it and I wish him a second term,” said Mr Yadav, to some discomfort amid the Opposition benches which have been working for a unified grouping against the BJP.

While Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule said Mr. Yadav had expressed the same hopes for former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr. Yadav himself later tried to play down the words outside Parliament, Mr. Modi acknowledged what he termed as Mr. Yadav’s “blessings”.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan presented a report on her tenure as presiding officer of the House and confessed to mixed feelings at the end of her stint.

“I have mixed feelings as I leave today. We must remember that this is the temple of democracy, and we have to make it work maintaining its dignity and keeping in mind the aspiration of the people,” she said.

The 16th Lok Sabha has seen MPs being suspended for “disorderly conduct” in 2015 and 2016.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi MP Jithendra Reddy, who heads the food committee of Parliament, brought in a lighter moment to the proceedings, claiming the distinction of having introduced biryani to the menu. .

While Congress president Rahul Gandhi made a brief appearance in the House, senior party leader K.C. Venugopal spoke on behalf of the party making a case for the functioning of the Opposition. “We have tried to put across our point to the country as best we can… We have tried to give our best as Opposition,” he said.

The realisation that elections were round the corner was evident at the valedictory session. NDA ally Shiv Sena, despite very public differences with the BJP, expressed its hopes, via its MP Anandrao Adsul, that the NDA would return to power. Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader Ram Vilas Paswan, acknowledging his now famous skills at picking the winning side in every poll, said, “I am known as a mausam vigyanik (someone who senses which way the wind is blowing) and I say that there is no vacancy — Prime Minister Modi will return.”

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