Twice during the recent monsoon session of the Lok Sabha I observed an emotional Madhavrao Scindia. On one occasion, he took offence after External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh called him a 'boy of yesterday' in a speech. The following day, making a suo moto statement, Madhavrao declared he had never reached Parliament via the Upper House, the Rajya Sabha, a clear reference to Jaswant Singh. He had been elected nine times to the Lok Sabha, he said, adding, "I have been repeatedly elected, and never entered this building from the backdoor." Jaswant Singh was present in the House, but did not react. Madhavrao asked the Speaker that the minister apologise, but that was not to be.
The second incident occurred during Question Hour. There was a question on administration and the postings of IAS and IPS officers. His sister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, the minister of state in charge of
personnel, stood up to answer. There was hearty laughter in the Lok Sabha over this question posted by the brother on the Opposition benches and answered by the younger sister from the Treasury benches.
At one point of time, during the answer, Vasundhara Raje slipped on her statistics. Madhavrao
stood up and reminded "Vasu" -- as he affectionately called his sister -- that "You are wrong, your data is not up to the mark..."
"Even during school and college, Speaker sir," he went on to say, "Vasu used to make these types of small mistakes..." Vasundhara Raje retorted, "I remember you used to go away from college and you now tell me I made mistakes..."
Madhavrao Scindia was a gentleman. He observed the rules of the Lok Sabha religiously. Lok Sabha convention dictated that whenever a minister spoke no other member intervened; permission from the Speaker is to be sought so that the minister yields for a moment to hear the member's point of view. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was speaking that day. Madhavrao wanted to say something. Seeing Madhavrao standing, Vajpayee jokingly said he would not yield...
During another debate, Scindia mentioned that Chitrakoot was in Madhya Pradesh, whereas Vajpayee pointed out to the man who defeated him in the 1984 general election that the town is in Uttar Pradesh. "Scindiaji is always right, but now he is wrong..." Vajpayee quipped. To this, Scindia quickly stated he was ready to "accept elderly advice from Atalji..."
The Lok Sabha will miss this seasoned and gentle parliamentarian.
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