New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his council of ministers and senior leaders, including BJP patriarch L K Advani and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were among the members of the newly-elected 16th Lok Sabha who took oath yesterday.
Senior Congress leader Kamal Nath, who was sworn-in on Wednesday by President Pranab Mukherjee as the pro-tem speaker, administered the oath to Modi, who was attired in a spotless white churidar-kurta and matching jacket. Advani and Gandhi next took oath next. The three leaders took the oath in Hindi.
They were followed by Arjun Charan Sethi of the Biju Janata Dal, P A Sangma of the National People’s Party and Biren Singh Engti of the Congress. After them, most of the members of the council of ministers of the National Democratic Alliance government took their oath as MPs of the new Lok Sabha.
Sushma Swaraj surprised many by taking oath in fluent Sanskrit, but later it was evident that BJP members had taken a conscious decision to bring the classical language back into spotlight as many more followed her lead.
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader was followed by her party colleague and Minister for Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Uma Bharti, who too took her oath in Sanskrit as did union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
Union ministers from Karnataka, including Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar, and Minister of State for Civil Aviation G M Siddeshwara, took their oath in Kannada. Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal, who is minister for food processing industries, took oath in Punjabi.
Jual Oram, tribal affairs minister, took oath in Odiya, while Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava took oath in Gujarati.
Sarbananda Sonowal, minister of state for skill development, youth affairs and sports (Independent charge), took oath in Assamese. Other ministers took oath in Hindi while Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi took oath in English.
Kamal Nath was the only member who had taken oath on Wednesday as the House was adjourned on the first day of the new Lok Sabha following death of union minister Gopinath Munde June 3. The oath taking of the members proceeded state-wise in the alphabetical order with some exceptions for senior members like former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and two former deputy speakers Karia Munda and M Thambidurai and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Some members were, however, not present to take oath. Notable among them being senior BJP MPs Murli Manohar Joshi, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Ram Kripal Yadav.
Meanwhile, change seemed to be the leitmotif of the 16th Lok Sabha as it began business yesterday with a new and full treasury bench and a truncated opposition.
While Modi, in parliament for the first time, led his team on the ruling side, Sonia Gandhi sat on the front in the opposition benches after sitting in the first row of the treasury benches for a full decade.
However, unlike on Wednesday, Advani was not seen sitting next to the prime minister this time. He was instead sitting next to senior ministers Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh in the next row. As soon as the house assembled, Nath welcomed all members, especially those of newly-formed states of Telangana and residuary Andhra Pradesh.
The 16th Lok Sabha has 315 first-time lawmakers, the highest in 30 years for any house that has 543 elected and two nominated members, according to data compiled by PRS Legislative, a research group that tracks the working of parliament.
The prime minister was present till the members of his council of ministers took oath. As soon as he left, many BJP members were seen leaving the house, probably for a cup of tea or some fresh air. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who seems to have taken a fancy for the back seat, was seen having a lengthy conversation with NCP’s Supriya Sule.
Glamour queens of Bollywood and regional cinema including Mathura MP Hema Malini, Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher and Shatabdi Roy of the Trinamool Congress were in full attendance resplendent in their bright saris and salwar kameeze. Gujarat MPs Devajibhai Govindbhai Fatepara and Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya were dressed in their traditional attire.