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No SPG cover, Sonia Gandhi now enters Parliament just like any other MP

Snippets from beyond the headlines on Day 2 of Parliament’s winter session.

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New Delhi: Divested of security cover under the Special Protection Group (SPG), Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi has started entering the Parliament building though Gate No. 1, which is used by other Members of Parliament.

Earlier, Sonia, just like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, used to enter the building through Gate No. 5. Her party has been protesting in both Houses of Parliament against the withdrawal of SPG cover to the Nehru-Gandhi family.

On the first two days of the Winter Session of Parliament, which started Monday, Congress MPs were present at Gate No. 1 to receive Sonia. Her son and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been using Gate No. 4. Legislators, including Home Minster Amit Shah, also prefer to use Gate No 4.

Gate No. 12 is usually used by members who are in the Rajya Sabha as it is closer to the House.

Also read: Sena compares BJP to Muhammad Ghori, says ‘paid price’ for letting it grow in Maharashtra

AAP’s lone Lok Sabha MP goes missing during pollution debate

Amid a political slugfest over BJP MP Gautam Gambhir’s absence from a parliamentary committee meeting on air pollution, several MPs and even ministers have been riding bicycles to Parliament to send out a message. They include the BJP’s Arjun Ram Meghwal, Mansukhbhai Mandavia and the party’s Delhi president and Lok Sabha MP Manoj Tiwari.

A few others, including Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and his ministerial colleague Giriraj Singh, have been using electric cars. Singh even faced problems because of his small Reva car. Security personnel stopped his vehicle on several occasions, assuming he was not a minister.

Some MPs were seen sporting pollution masks too. Meanwhile, the Aam Admi Party’s (AAP) lone MP in the Lok Sabha, Bhagwant Mann from Punjab, was missing during the debate on air pollution in the House Tuesday.

Manoj Tiwari’s pollution ‘tokenism’

Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari wanted to do his bit to curb pollution in the capital, too. So for that, he first headed from his Teen Murti Marg home to the Rail Bhawan in his private car and then cycled his way from there to Parliament — a distance of barely 500-600 metres. Soon after, a video (his interview to TV reporters explaining how he was trying to help in controlling pollution) surfaced on social media, with many laughing at the “tokenism”. Tiwari has been criticising the AAP government for not doing enough to tackle pollution in the city.

Rahul Gandhi’s disappearing act

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also did a disappearing act from the Parliament Tuesday, on a day he had questions listed in his name. This prompted Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to remark that he was waiting for Rahul as his name was listed in the question hour.

“I was waiting to call his name but the screen is showing that he is on leave,” Birla quipped, while asking Congress MP from Kerala Kodikunnil Suresh to return to his seat.

Rahul did not ask even one question in the 16th Lok Sabha. In the 17th, some 10 questions were listed in his name.

Also read: Protests erupt against Citizenship Bill in Northeastern states as winter session begins

Contributors: Shanker Arnimesh, Neelam Pandey and Moushumi Das Gupta

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