Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar took charge as the Chairman of Rajya Sabha for the first time today
He was at loggerheads with ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) all through his tenure as West Bengal Governor. However, there was no dearth of courtesy from Mamata Banerjee's party when Jagdeep Dhankhar, now the Vice-President, took charge as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha today, with a TMC MP greeting him, saying "Aap Aaye Toh Bahar Aaye" (you herald the spring).
The Winter Session of Parliament, which started today, saw Mr Dhankhar in his new role for the first time in the Upper House.
TMC had abstained from the Vice-Presidential election held earlier this year, in which Mr Dhankhar was the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance candidate.
"On behalf of All India Trinamool Congress, I express warmest felicitation to you for being elected as the honourable Vice-President of India and as well as taking over the charge of this august house," the TMC member of parliament, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy, said.
"For the last four years, we have experienced your style of functioning when you were the honourable Governor of West Bengal. Personally speaking, I had the opportunity to exchange letters with you on some constitutional and legal matters," he added. From your explanations made in the communications, that belief was further strengthened," Mr Ray said on the floor of the house.
The TMC MP then added that there is a saying in Hindi, 'Aap Aaye to Bahar Aaye'. "So, we will expect that your elevation to this position will help strengthen the conducive atmosphere of this august house."
TMC has demanded that the Chairman of Rajya Sabha grant more time to the members of smaller parties to speak on the floor of the house. It has also demanded scrutiny of bills by standing committees and select committees.
TMC has requested for a calling-attention motion every week, with Mr Ray telling Mr Dhankhar, "I feel a lot of pain for smaller parties".
Mr Dhankar and the West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee often clashed on several issues resulting in bitter exchanges on Twitter.