Ministers and MPs had a somewhat ‘casual’ day in Parliament on Thursday with many taking a nap, chatting, reading newspapers and spending times with gadgets. Sitting in the front row, senior Awami League leader Shahara Khatun dozed off before the Maghrib prayers recess. Finance Minister AMA Muhith was seen reading a newspaper while many others spent time talking to each other. The Rules of Procedure prohibits reading newspapers during the session. Shahara, a former home minister, fell asleep just before the session started on Thursday afternoon. She strained to open her eyes for a while when officials gave her some documents. Posts and Telecommunication Minister Abdul Latif Siddique and former state minister for labour Munnujan Sufian, too, took a nap. Thursday was a reserved for the private bills, and question-answer session was at the beginning of the day’s session. Most Jatiya Party (JP) MPs including Opposition Leader Raushan Ershad, HM Ershad, Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud and Ziauddin Bablu were absent. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the session. JP’s Presidium member Kazi Firoz Rashid was seen sitting alone in the front row. Many left after a while. Independent MP Haji Mohammed Selim was went to the Parliament lobby after presenting his question. Singer Mamtaj Begum, too, was seen leaving the House. Imran Ahmed, an MP from Sylhet, left his seat to have a chat with former foreign minister Dipu Moni. Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain was busy with his mobile phone, while Sirajganj-3 MP Habib Millat toyed with his tablet. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu and Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon were engaged in a conversation. Inu also spoke on the phone. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury starts her day reading ‘local newspapers’. Replying to a question by independent MP Selim, she said she preferred reading local papers before moving on to national dailies. Selim had asked whether the government would take steps against dishonest businessmen who import sub-standard seeds and keep deceiving farmers. Chowdhury said she read local newspapers first as they run news on various local issues. She said she had directed her ministry officials to give her news clippings on agricultural issues from the local and national dailies. The minister mentioned her ministry had taken action against Syngenta Bangladesh after a local paper ran a report on how it adulterated tomato seeds in the Barendra region.