By Quaid Najmi
Nagpur, Dec 19 (IANS): A new mother and Nationalist Congress Party MLA Saroj Ahire-Wagh turned heads when she arrived at the Maharashtra Legislature with her 10-week-old infant son in arms, here on Monday morning.
Her husband, Dr. Pravin Wagh and her mother-in-law are also accompanying and staying with her at Nagpur to take care of the infant, Prashansak, who is all of two-and-half months old, on his first 'political day out' in the state's highest law-making institution.
Clad in a brown-grey sari, the comely legislator walked casually inside the legislature premises cuddling her little one, bundled in a creamish baby blanket to ward off the Nagpur cold weather, informed her aide, Adv. Anup Vanse.
Interacting with the media, the radiant Wagh-Ahire, 37 -- who got married in February 2021, after her election as MLA in 2019 -- said that she would like to bring her son to the legislature daily so she could nurse him as and when needed.
"However, there is no proper feeding room or even a creche for the women lawmakers... I feel the government should take note of this and make some arrangements so that legislators can bring their minor children," said Wagh-Ahire.
"This is the first time in India that any MLA has come to the legislature to fulfil her legislative duties towards her constituents... It has been widely appreciated," Adv. Vanse told IANS.
Elected from Deolali (SC) constituency in Nashik, the former LIC employees travelled with her family via the newly-inaugurated Mumbai-Nagpur Super Expressway to Nagpur, around 500 kms away to reach the legislature on time.
Adv. Vanse said that the infant will remain with "MLA Madam" for the entire duration of the Winter Session, barring any health exigencies in view of the climatic differences between Nashik and Nagpur.
At her wedding in February 2021, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, top leaders, including NCP President Sharad Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal and others had gone to bless the newly-married couple.
Adv. Vanse said that in recent times we have seen similar examples of women leaders in Europe, Australia or some Arab countries taking their infants or even feeding them, and now Wagh-Ahire has taken the first of its kind step in India which will inspire other women.
Other legislators, including many women were seen greeting Wagh-Ahire, playing and blessing the peacefully napping baby, and even clicking selfies with the tiny bundle - perhaps the youngest ever to 'enter' any legislature in the country!