Youngest minister fumbles, but earns applause
She went slow and fumbled twice, but the entire hall at Rashtrapati Bhavan erupted in applause and smiles as Agatha Sangma, the youngest minister in the Manmohan Singh government, took oath on Thursday.
Wearing a traditional stole and sarong in beige and white, 28-year-old Sangma folded her hands into a gentle namaste for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi sitting in the front row, before taking her place beside President Prathibha Patil to take oath in Hindi.
However, the mike had to be specially adjusted for the petite first-time minister.
Daughter of former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma, who was present at the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday and looked on appreciatively as his daughter took oath in the name of god, Agatha hails from Meghalaya and is a lawyer by profession.
Quite a few faces had an anticipatory look as Agatha Sangma fumbled more than once mid-sentence. However, Sonia Gandhi kept smiling throughout her oath taking, nodding appreciatively and then clapping with everyone else as Agatha completed her oath taking.
Walking back to take her seat, a number of people either folded their hands into a namaste to greet her or shook hands with the young minister.
Team Manmohan was finally inducted Thursday with 14 cabinet ministers and 45 ministers of state taking oath at the Rashtrapati Bhavan to wrap up the 79-member council of ministers that will shepherd the Congress-led UPA's second tenure in office.