Mohammed Azharuddin will not have a bat to swish and Kabir Suman
will perhaps resist temptation to break into “Ultopalta proshno
korona (don’t ask rubbish questions)….”
Still, the new Lok Sabha, with its mix
of young and veteran, brains and beauty, promises to be colourful —
more, perhaps, than the previous one.
For one thing, the standard of the
debate — and even the oratory — can be expected to rise.
The 14th Lok Sabha had suffered from a
drought of good speakers on the Opposition benches who, after L.K.
Advani’s opening efforts, would come up with the dead-bat offerings
of the Ananth Kumars, Shahnawaz Husseins and Kharabela Swains.
This time their line-up is stronger,
thanks largely to signings from the Rajya Sabha. If Sushma Swaraj
and Murli Manohar Joshi can bowl the political spin, Yashwant Singh
and Jaswant Singh will not be afraid to hurl the economic and
They will be pitted against a Treasury
team that has added two of the finest speakers in the country,
Salman Khursheed and Shashi Tharoor, to its impressive array of
Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and
young guns like Jyotiraditya Scindia.
If things still get a bit long-winded
sometimes, there’s always hope that Shatrughan Sinha will fire a “Khamosh!”
He is unlikely to say it, though, if
party colleague Varun Gandhi is tempted to overstep the line. Here
one may start missing the stentorian no-balling by Somnath
The “headmaster” may be gone but the
government side has a college professor, Trinamul’s Saugata Ray, to
add substance and style to the discussions. Ears will prick up when
Rahul Gandhi’s aide Meenakshi Natrajan speaks, too.
The House is sure to miss the jokes,
songs and rhymes of the Republican Party of India’s Ramdas Athawale,
but Independent Inder Singh Namdhari can try to make up the
entertainment quotient with his theatrical skills.
And if veterans like Lalu Prasad and
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh find themselves out of the government, they
may just feel freer to dish out the humour.
The flow of soul will not lag the
feast of reason: the Congress has popular religious guru Satpal
Maharaj in its ranks, and the BJP the controversial anti-conversion
protagonist, Dilip Singh Judeo.
The curiosity factor will focus on the
grandsons and granddaughters.
Charan Singh’s grandson Jayant
Chaudhary has already attracted attention in western Uttar Pradesh
for his brains; and Haryana veteran Bansi Lal’s stunning
granddaughter Shruti Choudhary is bound to draw the cameras’
Jyoti Mirdha, doctor and granddaughter
of Congress stalwart Nathuram Mirdha, is being billed a promising
Eyes will also be on Mausam Noor,
lawyer and niece of Ghani Khan Chowdhury, and Harsimrat Kaur,
daughter-in-law of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
A couple of son-rises too: Karnataka
chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s son K. Raghavendra Rao and H.D.
Deve Gowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy will make their Lok Sabha debut.
No sunset for the veterans, though. Former chief ministers Farooq
Abdullah, Virbhadra Singh and Veerappa Moily will all adorn the
treasury benches, trying to meet the firepower of the Opposition’s