The Telegraph
Thursday , August 14 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Scene II: House room war gets wider

New Delhi, Aug. 13: In this battle now unfolding in Parliament, there’s no room for give and take.

The Trinamul Congress nameplate outside Room No. 5 was gone today and the Telugu Desam Party was back in possession of the prized ground-floor space as the fight over rooms spread to other parties.

At last count, at least five parties had entered the fray.

Trinamul MPs, who had their party’s nameplate installed outside No. 5 yesterday afternoon in an abortive bid to take over the 51sqm room, are determined to get a room on the ground floor based on their numbers in the Lok Sabha.

With 34 MPs, the party is the fourth largest in the House.

While Desam MPs, none of whom were present when the Trinamul members were carrying out their nameplate mission, had later put their party’s board back, they didn’t remove the Trinamul nameplate.

But sometime between last evening and today, the Trinamul nameplate disappeared.

Mamata Banerjee’s party has now knocked on the door of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. “We couldn’t meet the Speaker today as she was busy. We will meet her tomorrow,” Trinamul leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said. “We want a room on the ground floor and there is no question of going to the top floor.”

Desam MPs, part of the ruling NDA alliance, say there is no question of vacating No. 5, inaugurated by their late icon N.T. Rama Rao.

Party MPs today called on BJP leader L.K. Advani and urged him to intervene. The Andhra party, which has 16 MPs, has also placed an appeal before the Speaker.

For those who thought it was a tussle between two parties, here’s the latest.

The CPM has been served an eviction notice to vacate Nos. 135 and 136 on the top floor — the third floor — and relocate to a smaller room (No. 129) now occupied by Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal.

The Left party has been asked to shift to a smaller room as they have just nine MPs in the 16th Lok Sabha. The comrades are reluctant to shift and have taken up the matter with the Speaker.

“We are talking to the Speaker. Today our strength has reduced but even when we had 61 MPs (in the 14th Lok Sabha) we did not demand a bigger room. This musical chair game should be stopped,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.

Yechury suggested that Trinamul should move to No. 129, to be vacated by the RJD, as the Bengal party had been allotted the same room during the last Lok Sabha.

Trinamul, however, couldn’t take possession of No. 129 as the RJD had refused to vacate it. The RJD, which has just 4 MPs in the Lok Sabha, today agreed to vacate the top-floor room and shift to a smaller room — No. 125.

Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK, the third largest party in the Lok Sabha with 37 MPs, has also joined the battle for rooms to secure one on the ground floor. The party now occupies a small room on the top floor.

“This room is too small for our strength. We have 37 MPs in the Lok Sabha. We have asked the Speaker to allot a room for us on the ground floor,” an AIADMK member said.

The Tamil Nadu party had nine MPs in the last Lok Sabha.

Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party, which does not have a single MP in the current Lok Sabha, has also been asked to vacate the room it occupies on the top floor.

The Uttar Pradesh party has refused, saying it has 12 MPs in the Rajya Sabha and need the space.

PS: For more updates, watch this space.