Ahead of the crucial winter session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the NDA’s close to 400-odd MPs on Sunday evening that he expected them to take his government’s “pro-poor” initiatives pro-actively to the people, as these were not the exclusive property of some political parties/governments (a snide reference to the predecessor UPA dispensation). He also said he expected them to conduct themselves in a “righteous” manner, never indulging in any activity that may bring them into disrepute.
Mr Modi’s pointed message to his flock was delivered over high tea — attended, interestingly enough by the entire Shiv Sena contingent — on the lawns of 7 Race Course Road. It was the first such gathering of NDA MPs, but Mr Modi promised that this would become a regular feature.
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, playing master of ceremonies, urged MPs to contribute to enhancing the quality of debates in Parliament, explained the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s objectives, and announced that Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31 would be celebrated annually as Ekta Diwas, when all government servants will take the unity pledge. BJP veteran L, K. Advani congratulated party president Amit Shah for the election victories in Maharashtra and Haryana, while presenting him with a shawl.
For two hours, from 4 to 6 pm, the focus was on the importance of all ministers and MPs being fully briefed on key programmes so that, as a government source put it, “elected representatives are empowered to become effective political communicators” both inside and outside Parliament.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley briefed MPs on the Prime Minister's Jan Dhan Yojana, the recent ordinance on coal and Union Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari on the Adarsh Gram Yojana; among other presentations.