A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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President Pranab Mukherjee sits in his horse-drawn buggy as he leaves from the Indian Parliament after the opening of the Budget session in New Delhi on 23 February 2016.

Photo: Money Sharma/ AFP Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Photo: PTI

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Photo: PTI

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Photo: PTI

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Ranjeet Ranjan, Lok Sabha MP from Supaul (Bihar), rides a Harley Davidson bike to Parliament on International Women's Day.

Photo: Subhav Shukla/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan poses for a photograph during Parliament's Budget session in New Delhi. PTI

Photo: Subhav Shukla/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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A group of Members protesting for separate OBC Ministry at Parliament House during the Budget session.

Photo: Atul Yadav/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi with party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia at Parliament House.

Photo: Kamal Kishore/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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HRD Minister Smriti Irani arrives at Parliament House

Photo: Kamal Kishore/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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MPs Anurag Thakur and Kirti Azad

Photo: Kamal Kishore/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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A group of Jain Community members visiting Parliament.

Photo: Atul Yadav/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav with other MPs at Parliament House.

Photo: Shirish Shete/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Rajya Sabha MP Rekha comes out of Parliament during the budget session in New Delhi.

Photo: Shirish Shete/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu after the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting in New Delhi.

Photo: Kamal Singh/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi arrives at Parliament.

Photo: Kamal Kishore/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Lyricist and Rajya Sabha member Javed Akhtar shares a lighter moment with CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and others.

Photo: Kamal Kishore/ PTI Photo

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

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Photo: PTI

BUDGET SESSION

A buggy, a bike, mirth & clicks: the other side of Parliament

Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya

The first half of Parliament's Budget session that recently ended saw a rare willingness from the Treasury as well as Opposition Benches to engage with each other, rather than boycott or disrupt. The session achieved high productivity in terms of debates as well as Bills passed, even amid acerbic attacks by adversaries on either side.

Television visuals of the charged atmosphere inside the two Houses leave little scope for one to imagine other scenes on Parliament premises. MPs who are adversaries inside can be seen freely laughing over jokes, posing for photographs, or discussing matters that may or may not be incidental to Parliament.

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Various locations also serve as points of protest and MPs can often be seen with placards there. Mahatma Gandhi's huge but lifelike statue just opposite the MPs' entrance is a favourite spot for such protests. Just next to the statue is the Press corner where reporters are stationed and from where Press statements are also released by MPs and ministers.

Opposite the statue, just outside the MPs' entrance, is a spot set aside for a grand visual feast of high-end cars that come to drop and pick up some MPs. This is also the spot where they run into and greet each other with camaraderie, before stepping inside and turning into adversaries.

Once a year, the biggest spectacle is reserved for the First Citizen of the country, as the President reaches Parliament in his near-royal carriage, to address the MPs at the start of the Budget session.

Then there are the visitors to Parliament, including schoolchildren as well as adults from all walks of life and various corners of the country. Sessions that go to waste in disruptions and adjournments bring a lot of disappointment to these visitors. Well, at least this Budget session would have been a welcome treat for them. For us all.

Edited by Anna Verghese

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Charu Kartikeya

Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya