In a Fix Over Citizenship Bill, Meghalaya MP Agatha Sangma Cuts Short Honeymoon to Attend Parliament
Your dose of gossip from Parliament.
Tura MP Agatha Sangma with her husband Patrick Rongma Marak after their wedding, at Sacred Heart Shrine Church in Tura area of West Garo Hills on November 21, 2019. (PTI Photo)
House Over Honeymoon: With the politically contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill set to be tabled in Parliament soon, the BJP has asked its lawmakers to improve their attendance in both Houses. The absentee MPs have been receiving an earful from defence minister Rajnath Singh.
Setting an example for parliamentary colleagues is Tura MP Agatha Sangma, a member of BJP ally National People’s Party. Sangma, who got married to Patrick Rongma Marak last month, cut short her honeymoon and was seen in Parliament with her husband on Wednesday. Though an NDA ally, Sangma is well aware that the Citizenship Amendment Bill, unpopular in home state Meghalaya, could have electoral fallout for her party. While Sangma may be back to attend debates on the bill, she may end up abstaining on the day of voting to balance alliance and electoral compulsions.
Data Debacle: Of the 120 WhatsApp users in India targeted through the Pegasus spyware, personal data of 20 Indians may have been accessed by the attacker, Information Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Lok Sabha. This ironically on a day when the Union Cabinet passed the Personal Data Protection Bill which will develop a framework to handle personal data, including its use by public and private entities.
Cyber Safety for Women: Top officials of Twitter India have briefed a parliamentary committee on action taken to ensure cyber security for women at a time when victim-shaming and abject misogyny on social media has fuelled the anger triggered by the barbaric rape and murder of a Hyderabad veterinarian. The officials made a presentation on Twitter’s mechanism to deal with harassment and how women can use it.
Concern for Camerapersons: Taking a break from raising farmer issues, NCP leader Supriya Sule advocated for another ‘neglected’ section in the Lok Sabha –reporters and camerapersons. Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, recalled seeing a cameraperson ride pillion on a two-wheeler and reporters surviving without food and bathroom breaks for long hours while her party, along with the Shiv Sena, Congress and BJP, played ping-pong with power in Maharashtra. Sule suggested that a social security or insurance scheme be put in place for reporters and camerapersons who are on the job 24x7.
Support for Chidambaram: The Congress has made sure it’s seen as firmly backing its senior leader P Chidambaram who finally secured bail in the INX Media case on Wednesday, after 106 days in Tihar Jail. But the former finance and home minister has also received support from unlikely quarters – the Trinamool Congress. TMC leader Saugata Roy raised the issue in Parliament and alleged that the “government” deferred Chidambaram’s bail since it didn’t want him speaking on the economic crisis. Sources say in fact that the TMC was planning to send some leaders to meet Chidambaram in jail had he not secured bail. The ex-union minister will now be seen back in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
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