[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]N[/dropcap]ovember 23, 2016 turned out to be a black day in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament. As members of the House and thousands of viewers watched the live telecast of the proceedings, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien lost his temper and shouted at Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the soft spoken and mild mannered minister of state for parliamentary affairs. “I’ll take disciplinary action against you. I’ll throw you out of the House,” Kurien shouted at Naqvi who raised a point of order while Naresh Agarwal of the SP was speaking.
The members of the BJP, who saw red in the speech by Agarwal wanted the chair to expunge the remarks while Kurien was enjoying the predicament of the treasury benches.
Agarwal described the BJP members as people rented out by the government which created a flutter among the treasury benches. They were already upset over the Opposition members who were scheming to disrupt the debate on the demonetisation of the high value currency notes announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 in a special address to the nation. The members of the BJP, who saw red in the speech by Agarwal wanted the chair to expunge the remarks while Kurien was enjoying the predicament of the treasury benches. Did he even understand the remarks? How good is he at Hindi? The viewer is encouraged to see the Rajya Sabha proceedings and decide for himself/ herself.
The agitated BJP members stood their ground and insisted on the removal of the comments made by Agarwal from the records of the House. While Naqvi tried politely to tell something to the chair, Kurien shouted at the minister and threatened him with dire consequences. For a moment it felt like Kurien was sitting in the Kerala Legislative Assembly and shouting at the Congress members owing allegiance to late K Karunakaran, his bête noir.
The House saw many unpleasant scenes while Kurien was presiding over the House. Anand Sharma, the Congress member with the looks of a dandy was encouraged by Kurien to speak against Prime Minister Modi. Sharma, who smiles only at lady members, always gets special privileges from Kurien to disrupt the proceedings of the House.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he sight of Deputy Chairman of the House shouting at ministers is unusual and unheard of. But Kurien, belonging to the Congress appears to have no qualms in showing his allegiance to the Congress Party and the other Opposition members. It is an open secret in Kerala that Kurien, a Christian fundamentalist, does not like the Hindus of the State. Since the day BJP formed a government at the Centre, Kurien has never hid his hatred for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Opposition, particularly the Congress and the CPI-M and CPI get preferential treatment from Kurien while the BJP leaders are denied their rights while speaking in the House. Kurien also ensures that there is no disruption or disturbance whenever the Congress and the Left leaders speak in the House. But while BJP members and ministers are on the mike, he appears to go out of his way to encourage the Opposition members to create chaos and disturbance.
He acts as if he is very strict and considerate to members cutting across party lines. But he forgets that the TV cameras are watching him throughout the proceedings and his antecedents have become quite familiar to all viewers watching the Rajya Sabha TV channel.
The fact that the proceedings of the House are telecast live has not deterred Kurien, who figured in the list of accused in the infamous Suryanelli sex scandal in Kerala. Though the treasury benches are short of absolute majority in the Upper House, (the BJP and its allies together have only 73 members in the House which has an effective strength of 245 members), Kurien does not give the impression that he is neutral. After all they say of judges that the “judge should not only be fair but appear to be fair”. Viewers watching the Rajya Sabha proceedings can draw their own conclusions on the Deputy Chairman’s conduct.
Kurien appears to have good acting skills. He acts as if he is very strict and considerate to members cutting across party lines. But he forgets that the TV cameras are watching him throughout the proceedings and his antecedents have become quite familiar to all viewers watching the Rajya Sabha TV channel. “The Chairman of the House, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, though elected by the UPA, does not show this much discrimination against the BJP members. He is also soft spoken like Minister Naqvi. But Kurien is a Deputy Chairman with an evil mind,” said a regular viewer of the Rajya Sabha.
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