PM Modi asks Opposition to speak out on issues

Updates from :  the hindu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the press outside Parliament House in New Delhi on Monday, June 17, 2019.Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the press outside Parliament House in New Delhi on Monday, June 17, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

‘Don’t bother about your numbers’

As the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha commenced on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the Opposition to speak out on issues and not bother about their numbers, in a House where the ruling NDA has 353 seats.

Addressing the press before the session, Mr. Modi said he welcomed all new MPs as with them “comes new hopes, new aspirations and new determination to serve.” “When we come to Parliament we should forget Paksha [Treasury] and Vipaksha [Opposition]. We should think about Nishpaksh spirit’ [objective neutrality] and work in the larger interest of the nation,” he said.

“The role of the Opposition is important in a parliamentary democracy. The Opposition need not bother about their numbers. I hope they speak actively and participate in House proceedings,” he said.

He commended the historically largest contingent of women MPs elected to the 17th Lok Sabha as well.

The Prime Minister said his government worked on the principle of sabka sath, sabka vikas (with all, development for all) during his first term and people reposed their faith in it for a second time. As a result, a government had been re-elected with a clear majority after several decades, he said. As he entered the Lok Sabha, he went around the Opposition benches greeting senior leaders, who stood up as he greeted them.

Rahul takes oath

Congress president Rahul Gandhi, back from a sojourn abroad, started his fourth term as a Lok Sabha member, but from a new constituency. He had won in the election from Wayanad in Kerala but lost to the BJP’s Smriti Irani in his traditional seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh by over 55,000 votes.

With his mother watching the proceedings from a front row seat of the Opposition benches, Mr. Gandhi took the oath in English. And interestingly, despite his temple visits becoming a matter of intense political debate, he took the oath by “solemnly affirming his allegiance to the Constitution,” unlike many of his colleagues who took the oath in the name of God.

And moments before his oath, he tweeted, “representing Wayanad, Kerala, I begin my new innings in Parliament by taking my oath this afternoon, affirming that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India.”

Controversial Beginnings

The oath taking of Lok Sabha members was not without its share of drama and controversy, with pro-tem Speaker Dr Virendra Kumar having to step in to ask members to stick to a prescribed format after Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur added the name of her spiritual guru, Swami Purna Chetnanand Avdheshanand Giri as suffix to her name and ending the oath (which she took in Sanskrit) with a call of “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.

It immediately evoked sharp responses from the Opposition members who asked the Pro Tem Speaker Virender Kumar to follow the standard format.

Amid loud protests and slogans, the Bhopal MP explained that it was her full name. The Pro Tem Speaker then asked Lok Sabha Secretary General to stick to the name mentioned in the winning certificate.

Subsequent, BJP members continued to raise ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogans as teaser for the Opposition members.

After BJP’s Ganjendra Umarao Singh Patel (BJP) completed his oath with ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, Revolutionary Socialist Party from Kerala N K Premchandran (RSP) urged the Pro tem Speaker to maintain the prescribed format of the oath.

The Pro tem speaker ruled that the members stick to the format provided. After this, the members of BJP started adding “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” after end of every oath.

Busy Session Ahead

Earlier in the day, President Ramnath Kovind administered the oath of office Dr Virendra Singh, BJP MP from Tikamgarh as the pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Dr Singh will, along with a panel of pro-tem Speakers, Bhratruhari Mahtab, K Suresh and Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, be responsible for administered oath of membership to newly elected members. The session, from June 17th to July 26th is expected to be busy, with the election of Speaker to the Lok Sabha scheduled for June 19th, an address to the joint Houses of Parliament by President Kovind on June 20th and the Union budget on July 5th.

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