Shakeel Ahmad Khan is an alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.(Courtesy- Twitter Photo/@ShakeelkhanINC)
Shakeel Ahmad Khan is an alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University.(Courtesy- Twitter Photo/@ShakeelkhanINC)

Muslim MLA in Bihar takes oath in Sanskrit, calls it message to BJP and AIMIM

Khan, an alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said that he took the oath in Sanskrit to do something different to underline the unity in diversity that India represents.
By Arun Kumar | Edited by Abhinav Sahay | Hindusatn Times, Patna
UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2020 01:08 PM IST

India’s unity in diversity was in full display on the first day of the inaugural five day session of the 17th Bihar Vidhan Sabha, as members elected from different regions cutting across party lines took oath in different languages.

However, Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Congress MLA from Kasba, surprised everyone by taking oath in Sanskrit, while others brought the regional flavours by taking oaths in Maithili, Urdu, Hindi apart from English and Sankrit.

Later, Khan, an alumnus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said that he took the oath in Sanskrit to do something different to underline the unity in diversity that India represents.

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“I tried to give a message to both the BJP and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Our culture is so beautiful and Sanskrit is the mother of all languages. I felt I should take the oath in Sanskrit and I did it,” he said.

Akhtarul Imam, Bihar MLA from Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, referred to the word ‘Hindustan’, instead of ‘Bharat’, while reading out the Urdu translation of the oath. Imam is the head of AIMIM’s Bihar unit and was often described as the face of the party in Bihar after he joined the party after quitting the RJD.

AIMIM had won its first ever assembly seat in Bihar in Kishanganj by-polls in 2019 when its candidate Qamrul Hoda defeated BJP’s Sweety Singh. While Hooda gave the Hyderabad-based party its first success, Imam is credited with deepening its roots in the Seemanchal area.

Pro-tem Speaker Jitan Ram Manjhi immediately said that it should be ‘Bharat’ as has been the practice as well as provision in the Constitution. Imam immediately made amends and read out the oath. He later said that the word in old Urdu translation needed to be changed.

“I have no problem even if it is Hindustan, but the Constitution clearly says Bharat,” he added.

The first person to take oath was Dhirendra Pratap Singh alias Rinku singh, MLA from Valmiki Nagar constituency, as per the list of elected members notified by the election commission.

There was an apparent regional flavour in the way many of the members dressed themselves and took oath.

If those from the Mithilanchal, cutting across party lines, took oath in Maithili, there were others from Seemanchal who took oath in Urdu. There were others like Ratnesh Sada from Sonbarsa and Mithilesh Kumar from Sitamarhi, who took oath in Sanskrit. The 17th VIdhan Sabha has over 100 new members and the excitement on their faces was clearly visible.

The inaugural session of the 17th Vidhan Sabha will continue till November 27. The remaining members will take oath on Tuesday. All the 243 newly elected members of the Bihar Assembly will be administered oath by the pro-tem Speaker in the central hall, where seating arrangement has been made with proper distancing in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The election of Speaker will take place on November 25, while on November 26, governor Phagu CHouhan will address the joint sitting of the State legislature.

In the new Assembly, RJD is the largest party with 75 members, while the Grand Alliance has 110 seats. The NDA, the largest coalition has 125 seats, including 74 members of the BJP. An independent candidate has also extended its support to it.

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