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Venkaiah Naidu livens up Rajya Sabha on his debut as presiding officer

On the opening day of Parliament’s Winter Session. Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday livened up the generally drab proceedings of the House with his witty one-liners as he debuted as the presiding officer.

The vice-president was completely in command of the proceedings with MPs from across the parties enjoying a refreshing change in the House. Some changes in the conduct of the House were also introduced by Mr Naidu who appealed to members to stop using colonial terms while laying papers on the table.

Mr Naidu suggested that no member should use the word “I beg to” while laying papers on the table. “Just say, I raise to lay on the table the listed papers,” he said. “No need to beg. This is independent India,” he added.

The vice-president’s suggestion came during the process of laying on the table listed papers during which ministers started their sentences saying, “I beg to lay on the table the papers listed against my name in today’s revised list of business.”

The vice-president stressed that his was only a suggestion, not an order. Earlier, on not finding DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, Mr Naidu recalled Lord Shiva’s omnipresence and remarked, “Shiva is everywhere but not here in the House.”

Another one-liner came when Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agarwal tried to raise a point regarding the disqualification of two former JD(U) members of the House. The Chairman said, to the amusement of the House, that there is no “point… in your point of order”.

He also said that the matter could not be discussed as it was a decision of the Chair. In another change introduced in the proceedings, Mr Naidu stood up while reading out obituary references.

Mr Naidu’s predecessors Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat used to read obituary references while being seated. In Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, too, stands up while reading out obituary references.

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