New Delhi, March 10: Winners dont just take all, they crack jokes, too.
Having thrown on the mat men who threatened to unleash fire, brimstone and worse on the womens bill, Sonia Gandhi has been displaying a keen sense of humour — something not many politicians can be accused of.
Today, she suggested male MPs worried about women dominating the Lok Sabha can relax — the Prime Minister has thought of a quota for men, too.
Before Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav jump to their feet with a demand for sub-quotas for men, a word of caution: Sonia was joking.
More than the joke itself — not all men are likely to be amused by such attempts at humour — what stirred mirth was the person to whom it was addressed: a Trinamul Congress MP whose leader Mamata Banerjee was very upset yesterday but considerably less so today after meeting Sonia.
The Prime Minister was telling me that if that (men dwindling to a minority in Parliament) happens, we can have quotas for men in 15 years, Kalyan Banerjee, a Trinamul MP, quoted Sonia as telling him.
During the adjournment of the Lok Sabha, Sonia was seen speaking to Kalyan but reporters could not hear what transpired.
Kalyan was sitting alongside party chief whip Sudip Bandopadhyay, cracking jokes that attracted a crowd of other MPs.
Sonia, sitting with the Prime Minister in the first row, called out to Kalyan. She called me and asked me what were you telling them?, Kalyan later said.
The MP told Sonia he was joking about a possible outcome of the bill. A woman who wins a reserved seat and works well in her constituency is likely to — deservedly — seek and obtain the same ticket after five years when the seat is de-reserved. If the same pattern repeats itself, no men may be able to win seats after 10 years, the MP said.
It was then that Sonia came up with the male quota offer. It was all said in good humour and Sonia and the PM were smiling, Kalyan said.
Humour has a habit of cutting both ways. A slice from Twitter, tweeted by a gurushenoy: I used to think Womens shopping Bill is the only Bill we have to worry about….