Masks, shields, distance: New-look Lok Sabha meets beneath looming Covid shadow

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 14

The grand heritage chamber of India’s home, the Lok Sabha, has by no means seemed stranger than it did on Monday morning as MPs led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gathered in its precincts to mark the graduation of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

This is the primary event when Parliament has met beneath the looming shadow of the Covid pandemic.

The shadow was seen within the Lok Sabha which lacked its normal zing and bonhomie as MPs sat separated by plastic shields to make sure the protected two-yard distance, which is a part of the Health Ministry’s Covid protocols.

Every MP sat at a distance of 1 seat from one another with PM Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and senior minister Narendra Tomar within the entrance treasury rows.

The first bench on the opposition facet was empty with Congress president Sonia Gandhi staying away.

DMK’s TR Baalu and Congress Lok Sabha chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury occupied the lead row on the opposition facet. SP’s Mulayam Singh was additionally absent.

In the second row sat NC patron Farooq Abdullah, his first Lok Sabha go to since launch from residence detention in Kashmir.

MPs sporting masks of assorted descriptions added color to the in any other case staid environment however the trademark vitality of the decrease home was lacking after Speaker Om Birla declared the proceedings open.

He too wore a masks, eradicating it solely to pay condolences to Pranab Mukherjee, doyen of Indian classical music Pt Jasraj, sitting MP A Vasanth Kumar and 13 former MPs, together with Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal’s father Gurdas Badal, a former member of the Lok Sabha.

The graduation of the proceedings was sombre with the home remembering its outdated members, particularly Pranab Mukherjee whose photographic reminiscence and encyclopaedic information of Indian political historical past was a part of Om Birla’s glowing tributes to the late chief.

As per current observe initiated by the ruling NDA of not adjourning the home for the day after obituary references, the Speaker adjourned the proceedings for an hour after which two health-related payments are anticipated to be taken up within the Lok Sabha.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was within the Lok Sabha and was seen making preparations to pilot the payments.

Among distinguished absentees on day one had been Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, each away to the US.

Most Punjab MPs had been current, together with the newly appointed Congress whip in Lok Sabha Ravneet Bittu, Manish Tewari, Santokh Choudhry, Gurjit Aujla and Amar Singh.

Some new Lok Sabha MPs watched the home proceedings from the guests’ galleries on the primary ground the place they had been seated to take care of the necessary social distance within the Lok Sabha chamber.

Overall, Parliament wore a abandoned look on day one with sparsely visited compounds and galleries bearing witness to those unprecedented instances.

Just a few MPs did appear to interrupt the two-yard distance rule contained in the chamber for a while to compensate for outdated instances when the Speaker adjourned the home for an hour.

That aside, bodily distance was the flavour of the day as Parliament proceedings rolled on.


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