While house proceedings turn into a warzone with the government and the Opposition up in arms against each other over the Vyapam and Lalit Modi issues, all MPs have united for demanding a designated smoking area in Parliament.
A designated smoking area in Parliament had recently been closed as Parliament is a No Smoking Zone under Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act 2003.
Some MPs had cut across party lines and registered their protest against the removal of this designated area. The troubled MPs had also met Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan on the issue earlier this week.
They had requested for a ‘smoking room’ after the space adjacent to the Central Hall had been converted for another use.
A stenographers’ pool is now reportedly using the room, which was till date used by MPs to enjoy a smoke.
“Please do not give the news or else anti-smoking activists would throw a spanner in getting an alternate accommodation,” a BJP MP remarked.
A Congress MP, who was part of the group who had met the Speaker on the issue, alleged that the space was not apt for stenographers.
After telling the MPs in half-jest that they should quit smoking, Mahajan reportedly told them she had to look after everyone’s demands.
An informal arrangement of a ‘smokers room’ had been made after the then speaker Somnath Chatterjee had declared the Central Hall and Parliament lobbies a ‘no smoking’ zone in 2004.