Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 313 newly-elected MPs on Monday took oath as members of the 17th Lok Sabha where linguistic diversity of India was on full display. Slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ greeted Protem Speaker Virendra Kumar when he took the Chair at 11 am to commence proceedings. After the customary playing of the national anthem and observance of a minute’s silence to mark the occasion, Kumar announced the order in which members would take oath after the Prime Minister, who is also the Leader of the House, would do it first. Modi was followed by a panel of Chairmen Kodikkunil Suresh (Congress), Brij Bhushan Saran Singh (BJP) and Bhatruhari Mahtab (BJD).
Then came the turn of ministers to take the oath. Deputy Leader of the House Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah followed Modi as did other ministers. Smriti Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi, drew loud cheers as she took the oath while Gandhi preferred to enter the House late afternoon when it was the turn of members from Kerala to do the constitutional duty.
Gandhi was cheered by his party colleagues and others when he did so by solemnly affirmed his loyalty to the Constitution. His mother and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was yet to take oath as the turn of members of Uttar Pradesh would come tomorrow. Several members preferred to take the oath in their mother tongue while a few preferred Sanskrit. Among them were ministers Harsh Vardhan, an ENT surgeon, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Pratap Chandra Sarangi. But there was commotion when the controversial sadhvi-turned politician Pragya Thakur took the oath. Opposition members objected to her bringing in the names of her guru in reading out the oath and concluded it by uttering ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai.’ As protests continued, the Protem Speaker ruled that only what is allowed under the rules will be permitted to go on record.
Suresh and two other senior members Brajbhushan Saran Singh and Bhartruhari Mahtab have been appointed by the President to be in the panel of chairmen to conduct proceedings till the new Speaker is elected. Singh and Mahtab took oath after Suresh.
MoS in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh, who hails Jammu and Kashmir, took oath in his mother tongue Dogri. Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur, who had taken oath in English as Union Minister on May 30, today preferred to take oath in Punjabi. BJP MP from Hoshiarpur Som Prakash also used the same language to take the oath. Union Cabinet Minister Rameshwar Teli and Kripanath Mallah, and Naba Kumar Saranai took oaths in Assamese. Raiganj MP Debasree Chaudhuri, who was elected from Raiganj parliamentary constituency in West Bengal took oath in Bengali and Silchar MP Rajdeep Roy also took oath in the same language.
Shiv Sena MP and Cabinet Minister Arvind Sawan used Marathi to take his oath while Union Minister Shripad Yeso Naik used Konkani to take the oath.
Rk Ranjan from Manipur took oath in Manipuri.