मुख्य समाचार :

New MLAs making their presence felt

(१९ नोभेम्बरको दिन कालेबुङ प्रेस क्लबको १३ औं स्थापना दिवसका मुख्य अतिथि डा. हर्कबहादुर छेत्रीद्वारा सन्दर्भमा झिकेका टाइम्स अफ इण्डियाको सम्पादकीय।-मनोज वोगटी)।

5 sep.2011 Times Of India
Outgoing speaker Hashim Abdul Halim had written to his successor Biman Banerjee about the falling standards of assembly debates. But exchanges within the House have got livelier and exciting ever since. Several young legislators - both from treasury and opposition benches are making their presence felt in the assembly and intelligent debates are back in the House once again. In just around a month's time that the assembly has been in session, a few young MLAs cutting across party lines, have made their voices heard.
some of the first-timers have already earned appreciation from veteran legislators like Subrata Mukherjee.
Mukherjee, now a cabinet minister, admits that a few first time MLAs have shown "a lot of promise in the limited time they've got to speak". "I was particularly impressed by an opposition MLA who spoke on the commerce and industry budget. I walked up to him and patted his back. They need encouragement and perhaps some mentoring," he said.

Those who have already made a mark through their oratory skills include Trinamool's Domjur MLA Rajib Banerjee, Forward Bloc's Chakulia MLA Ali Imran Ramz, Congress's Saoni Singha Roy and GJM's Harka Bahadur Chetri. A few other MLAs have also left a lasting impression in the manner they spoke for the first time. Actor Chiranjeet and Nayagram's MLA Dulal Murmu are among them. But Imran is clearly the star speaker in the opposition benches whom Mukherjee too had lauded.
Imran admits, "I've never been so serious about studying, like the way I do now. But it is my observation on the plight of people in Singur (during the budget speech) that drew the house's attention. Ironically, when I said that people there are trapped - left without an industry and a land so damaged that it isn't fit for cultivation - is what I heard there. I had out of curiosity spend several days in Singur not divulging my identity. I really couldn't make out of the issue. If we are right, then why are people with Trinamool."
Saoni Singha Roy, Murshidabad's MLA, says, "Murshidabad is home to me after marriage. I had done my graduation from Victoria Institution. I was always told that I speak well. But speaking inside the Assembly is a different ball game. The time limit and those you address could be intimidating. I try to engage with seniors more than cramming books," she said. Roy's speech on the labour budget had castigated the former Left Front regime. In a moving address, she cited the plight of eight undertakers for Mir Zafar's family graveyard at Murshidabad's Zafragunj who still get paid a paltry Rs 6 to Rs 35 as monthly salary from the government.
Domjur's Trinamool MLA Rajib Banerjee has drawn attention with his matter-of-fact way of speaking. "When I first spoke on the Governor's address and then on the Budget, very frankly I was awake till 2 am trying to collate data. Since my father was a journalist and my uncle an economist-turned politician, I had picked up this habit of studying late and fiddling with data and statistics in my laptop."
GJM's Harka Bahadur Chetri is another speaker who has forced the House to sit in rapt attention while he speaks. A PhD in ecology, Chetri says, "Speaking in the Assembly is very tough. The deadline leaves little time to do research. I've managed to say from whatever I could imbibe from my rather long academic background. The rest is the exposure as a politician."
Trinamool's chief whip Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay believes the young brigade is doing a commendable job without mentors. "When we were first-time MLAs, I remember Sidhartha Sankar Ray (then the Leader of the Opposition), actually tutoring us on budget eve what to look out for in the voluminous budget booklets. He even gave us a handbook - replete with all facts and figures."

Speaker Biman Banerjee too admits a few speakers across the political divide have given him a lot to look forward to. "I will not take names but some speeches have indeed been engrossing. But a lot remains to be done to make this more effective," Banetrjee said. State labour minister Purnendu Bose - himself a first-time MLA but a keen observer of Assembly proceedings - says he got a mixed feeling. "While some speakers indeed have been very impressive, I would say the Opposition needs to be more effective to spur us (those in the government) to pull up our socks. Else it remains the way it was."
Ali Imran Ramz, MLA Chakulia (Forward Bloc)
A BA and LLB from Calcutta University belongs to a political family. Shy by nature, he was into politics right from his student days. Now heads the Forward Bloc's youth wing. The jeans-and-T-shirt clad politician has even won praises from senior Ministers. Father and uncle were senior Left leaders.
Rajib Banerjee, MLA Domjur (Trinamool Congress)
A civil engineer and MBA. Was into an MNC job till he quit to join politics. Uncle Mritunjay Banerjee was a former Congress education minister and reknowned economist. Father Dhananjay Banerjee had worked as a journalist. Interested in economics.
Saoni Singha Roy, MLA Murshidabad (Congress)
A B.Sc from Calcutta University. Post marriage settled in Murshidabad. Father was a pradesh Congress member. Loves to read in her free time but stresses it is the grassrot connect with people that evolves a politician. Feels Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Murshidabad MP, to a large extent has inspired to her to take up a more active political role.
Harka Bahadur Chetri, MLA Kalimpong (Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha)
A PhD from North Bengal University, Chetri is a seasoned politician even before his electoral foray. Believes his long academic career gives him a rare insight which shapes his public speeches.

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