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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Chants takes over oath-taking in Lok Sabha

At one point, interrupting BJP MP Arun Kumar Sagar while he was chanting, “Jai Shri Ram!”, Rahul Gandhi asked him to chant it “one more time”.

india Updated: Jun 20, 2019 12:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi chose to ignore the chants and took her oath in Hindi.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi chose to ignore the chants and took her oath in Hindi.(PTI photo)
         

Treasury benches chanted “Jai Shri Ram!” every time a prominent Opposition politician came forward to take the oath on Tuesday, the second day of the swearing-in of newly elected members of Parliament

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Assaddudin Owaisi and all members of the Opposition from West Bengal faced loud chants when they walked up to he sworn in as MPs. A verbal duel broke out between Bengal MPs and members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Bengal MPs were the last to take oath as the swearing-in took place alphabetically with state names.

Gandhi chose to ignore the chants and took her oath in Hindi. Owaisi ended his oath by saying, “Jai Bhim! Takbir! Allah-u-Akbar! Jai Hind!” At one point, interrupting BJP MP Arun Kumar Sagar while he was chanting, “Jai Shri Ram!”, Rahul Gandhi asked him to chant it “one more time”. After Sagar chanted again, Gandhi asked him to chant it “one more time” again.

Other MPs who confronted the chants included Azam Khan, AAP MP Bhagwant Mann and Shafiqur Rahman Barq of the of the Samajwadi Party (SP), besides the members from West Bengal, where the BJP and Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress waged an acrimonious battle in the April-May general election. Barq caused a stir when he said that “Vande Mataram” was against Islam and chose to say “Constitution Zindabad” instead. This led to the treasury benches asking for his apology.

West Bengal members were the last to be sworn as the oath-taking ceremony took place alphabetically in line with state names. Almost all Bengal MPs took their oaths in Bangla, save for Aparupa Poddar. Several members got into verbal arguments with members of the treasury benches. Most Bengali MPs from Trinamool Congress responded with chants of “Jai Bangla!” and “Jai Mamata!”

Some from the treasury benches responded by chanting “Jai Saradha!” and “Jai Ghotala” in an allusion to the Saradha Group financial scandal in which hundreds of thousands of small investors lost their life savings after putting money into fraudulent chit fund schemes.

The loudest chants were reserved for West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Bannerjee’s nephew Abhishek, Kakoli Dastidar, Kalyan Banerjee and Saugata Ray.

“I think the love reserved for me is more than what you have for PM Modi,” Abhishek shot back when heckled. Kalyan Bannerjee recited the Shandhi(please check spelling) Path, a mantra usually recited during Durga Puja in West Bengal, and ended it with “Jai Hind” and “Jai Bangla”.

Dastidar ended her swearing-in with “Jai Bangla! Jai Hind!” Both Dastidar and Banerjee as well as Poddar had verbal spats with members of the treasury benches.

BJP MP from Bengal Locket Chatterjee signed off by chanting, “Jai Hind! Jai Shri Ram! Jai Maa Kali! Bharat Maata ki Jai!”

Mathura MP Hema Malini ended her oath with, “Radhe-Radhe!”

Former Lok Sabha secretary general P Sreedharan said that while the religious fervour within the House is not unprecedented, it should be avoided. “In the past, during the Telangana agitation and every year on the anniversary of Babri Masjid demolition, religious slogans in the House used to be chanted. But in the spirit of the Constitution, it should be avoided,” he said.