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How to master oratory? Learn from the Communists, Congress tells first-time MPs

At session held for first-time MPs to train them in ways to be effective parliamentarians, Congress cites Hiren Mukherjee, Mohan Kumaramangalam

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New Delhi: The Congress wants its first-term parliamentarians to learn oratory from Communist veterans — the “literary flavour” of the late Hiren Mukherjee and “fluency, passion and analytical astuteness” of late Mohan Kumaramangalam, a Communist-turned-Congressman.

To make them effective in the Lok Sabha, the Congress organised a tutorial for its 31 debutant MPs under former Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achary, Chakshu Roy, head of the civic and legislative initiatives of research firm PRS, and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh.

“The literary flavour of Hiren Mukherjee’s speeches, and his youthful language provide a great benchmark. His use of expressions and the way he would build the tempo has very rarely been seen,” Achary said he told the parliamentarians at the tutorial Monday evening.

Former Congress presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were also present at the session, organised at the party’s war room at Delhi’s Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Road, Monday evening.

“Kumaramangalam’s speech on the supersession of Supreme Court judges is a great example. You may not agree with his premise, but the way he justifies his argument is brilliant,” the former Lok Sabha secretary general added.

Also read: Congress wasted a month pleading with Rahul, Karan Singh says, bats for young leaders

Orators needed

The Congress has been struggling to make its mark in the Lok Sabha, not just because of its weak numerical strength — it has 52 MPs in all — but also because of the absence of powerful orators among its current lot of MPs.

According to Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda, head of the Congress’ research wing, the interaction was organised to help increase the effectiveness of MPs in Parliament. “Jairam Ramesh, PDT Achary and Chakshu Roy spoke to them about how to put their best foot forward in the Lok Sabha,” he said.

While Ramesh focused on aspects relating to questions and how to frame them, Achary spoke about procedures and gave examples from some of the most forceful speeches made in Parliament. Roy, meanwhile, dwelt on rules for interventions and public funds, and how best to scrutinise budgets.

“I tried to demystify the rules for MPs, and explained how best to use them to make interventions,” Roy told ThePrint.

Party line

The interaction, which lasted a couple of hours, also included a conversation about how the MPs must have clear knowledge of the party’s approach to issues.
“Take for example triple talaq,” said Gowda.

“The party’s position is that it is already a civil offence, why should it be made a criminal one… It helps in understanding why we take a particular position.”

Also read: Why Congress should celebrate BJP’s success in states

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  1. The Left has produced many fine parliamentarians, including Professor Somnath Chatterjee, who lent dignity and grace to the Speaker’s chair.

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