The opening day of the three-day session of the newly constituted 13th Haryana Vidhan Sabha was marked by exchange of pleasantries, wit and banter, a rarity in the state assembly. Being the first day of the new assembly also added to the amiability among the first timers and the old hands as there were plenty of handshakes and greetings.
Congress MLA Kiran Choudhry arrives with HJC legislators Kuldeep and Renuka Bishnoi, who are the first couple to be elected to the assembly, for the session in Chandigarh on Monday.
A striking feature of the first day of the session was that five BJP MLAs — Capt Abhimanyu ( Nar naund), Pawan Saini (Ladwa), Kamal Gupta (Hisar), Om Prakash Yadav (Narnaul) and Randhir Kapriwas (Rewari) took the oath in Sanskrit.
While BJP first timers, Prem Lata (Uchana Kalan), Santosh Yadav (Ateli) and Abhe Singh Yadav (Nangal Chaudhary), HJC chief Kuldeep Bishnoi (Adampur), Independent MLA Dinesh Kaushik ( Pundri) took oath in English, the lone Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA, Balkaur Singh (Kalanwali) and BJP MLA Bakhshish Singh Virk (Assandh) took the oath in Gurmukhi (Punjabi). INLD MLA Naseem Ahmed (Ferozepur Jhirka) took the oath in Urdu.
Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, being the leader of the House was the first one to be administered the oath followed by other members of the council of ministers. Woman MLAs were the next to be administered the oath followed by the male MLAs.
Earlier, led by Ellenabad MLA, Abhay Singh Chautala, the Indian National Lok Dal ( INLD) MLAs, all wearing green ‘pugrees’, were the first ones to arrive in the House and occupy their seats. The husband-wife team of Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), Kuldeep Bishnoi and Renuka were the next. The couple sat together and exchanged greetings with INLD MLAs.
The ruling BJP and Congress MLAs were the last ones to occupy their seats moments before the acting speaker Dr Raghuvir Singh Kadian entered the House. Former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda looked relaxed as he exchanged namaskar with several fellow MLAs. Hooda later shook hands with HJC chief, Kuldeep Bishnoi and the two also exchanged pleasantries.
Second-time Sonepat MLA and a minister now, Kavita Jain could be seen greeting senior MLAs. Jain was hugged by Congress MLA from Tosham, Kiran Choudhry and congratulated by leader of the INLD legislature party, Abhay Singh Chautala. First-time Pataudi MLA Bimla Chaudhary was completely at sea while taking the oath in Devnagari (Hindi) as she repeatedly skipped words much to the embarrassment of the treasury benches.
Prem Lata, the wife of Congressman turned BJP leader, Birender Singh who took oath in English shook hands with Ag riculture Minister, Om Prakash Dhankar as she walked past him. Finance Minister, Capt Abhimanyu who was sitting next to Dhankar then drew her attention towards her husband, Birender Singh who was present in the visitor’s gallery. Prem Lata then turned around briefly to wave to her better half.
When Congress MLA from Kalanaur, Shakuntala Khatak halted near chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar’s seat to pay her regards, parliamentary affairs minister Ram Bilas Sharma was quick to make a point. Looking towards former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Shar ma remarked: “Hooda sahib, chinta mat karna, Rohtak ki chaudhar barkarar hai” (Don’t worry Mr Hooda, the supremacy of Rohtak is intact)”.
Chief minister, Khattar comes from Rohtak’s Banyani village, which falls in Kalanaur assembly segment. Khatak then vigorously shook hands with HJC MLA-couple Kuldeep and Renuka Bishnoi before taking her seat.
The banter continued after Jagadhri MLA, Kanwar Pal Gujjar was unanimously elected as speaker of the assembly. Two-time former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda while congratulating Kanwar Pal said that humour and wit often helped in alleviating the tension in the House. On this parliamentary affairs minister Ram Bilas Sharma said there cannot be any stress in the House as the chief minister himself is a tensionfree individual.
Former assembly speaker and Congress MLA Kuldeep Sharma then teasingly told the parliamentary affairs minister: Aapke hote huey chief minister tanav mukt kaise ho sakte hain (How can the chief minister be stress-free when you are around).”