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Speaker solves Alagiri's 'language' problem

Source: PTI
July 18, 2010 19:24 IST

Union Minister M K Alagiri will no longer have to fight shy of Parliament on the ground that he is not well-versed in English or Hindi.

An arrangement has now been worked out by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar by which the minister would be able to face Parliament effectively.

The Speaker has told him that he could answer main question by reading out the reply in English and the supplementaries could be fielded by his deputy Srikant Jena.

Parliament sources described it as a "fair solution" as it would solve the language problem being faced by Alagiri, a senior DMK leader and son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

Alagiri had been keeping away from the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha for most of the time as he is not comfortable speaking in English or Hindi and wants to speak in Tamil.

The Speaker had sometime back sent in for Alagiri in the wake of his request to allow him to answer questions in Tamil in Parliament. But he had not met her for several months.

His was perhaps a unique case in Parliament with hardly there being any precedent of such requests to the Presiding Officers.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament would commence on July 26 which is expected to see the arrangement in action.

The Budget session had seen Opposition creating a ruckus in both Houses over the absence of Alagiri and in the Lok Sabha, members did not allow Jena to reply.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj had led the attack complaining over the frequent absence of the minister in the Lok Sabha.

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