New Delhi, 25 April, 16. Lawmakers across political lines found rare agreement today on a point of self-interest: Delhi's odd-even rules must not apply to them, they said, as Parliament reconvened after a long break.
"Lawmakers should be exempted from the rule just for this Parliament session," Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the Rajya Sabha, where the odd-even traffic scheme was heartily reviewed.
Several parliamentarians ignored the rules, which, for a fortnight ending on Saturday, ban private cars on alternate days, based on whether their license plates end in odd or even numbers.
Special buses organised for parliamentarians arrived largely empty, while lawmakers who violated the rules pulled up in quick succession. One was apologetic - Paresh Rawal of the BJP. "I made a serious blunder... Sorry to Arvind ji and Delhiites," said Mr Rawal, who was fined. Another, Keshav Maurya, contritely took the special bus for MPs in the afternoon after arriving in an even-numbered car this morning.
Pappu Yadav, who recently formed his own party in Bihar, was emphatic in dissing the scheme, describing Arvind Kejriwal as "a psychopath Chief Minister". Mr Kejriwal's government in Delhi said that if lawmakers had made a mistake and apologised, they could be pardoned, but others would not be exempt from a Rs. 2,000 fine. "It is an opportunity for our Parliamentarians to lead by example," said Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai.
Others were in consensus that the inconvenience must not apply to them because it could keep them from "discharging duties"; some said they cannot be expected to use taxis because those are not allowed into the Parliament complex for security reasons.
Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi promised to "discuss and resolve the matter with relevant authorities."
But some showed the sort of spirit displayed by senior judges, who are car-pooling to work despite being exempt from odd-even. Anil Madhav Dave and Arjun Meghwal were seen cycling to Parliament. Bravo.