Alagiri missing again – eludes speaker on pet peeve Tamil

New Delhi, Nov 27 ( Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M.K. Alagiri has played truant again. He is believed to have written to Speaker Meira Kumar requesting he be allowed to answer questions in Tamil. But when she wanted to meet him over the issue, he did not show up, say sources in his DMK party.

Alagiri sent the second such letter to the speaker a few days before the winter session of Lok Sabha commenced, said a source close to the DMK leader.

“The speaker responded to the minister’s request saying she wanted to meet him. But he could not meet her,” said a top DMK leader admitting a lapse on Alagiri’s part.

“This was his second request to the speaker,” he told Inditop.

Alagiri, said to be miffed over not being allowed to answer questions in Tamil, was absent for many days in the last session of parliament. There was an uproar Wednesday when Alagiri failed to show up even as the issue of shortage of fertilisers and seeds was being discussed in the Lok Sabha.

In September too, Alagiri had requested the speaker to allow him to speak in Tamil as he was not fluent in either Hindi or English.

Citing precedents, senior Lok Sabha officials had then said that ministers should answer the questions either in English or Hindi as files containing the answers to questions are written in English and Hindi.

The speaker had said the matter was still under consideration.

The DMK sources said the party has adopted a “wait and watch” policy on Alagiri’s cause.

“There is no move from the party to interfere in the matter. Alagiri as an MP is claiming his right,” a DMK leader said.

Earlier, AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa had also supported Alagiri’s request that the Lok Sabha secretariat should extend an “interpreter service” to him to answer the queries of MPs in Tamil.