‘Jai Shri Ram’ chant and dig at Opposition in Lok Sabha

BJP members took advantage of their overwhelming numerical superiority in the Lok Sabha to take indirect digs at the Opposition

  • Published 18.06.19, 6:43 AM
  • Updated 18.06.19, 6:43 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the media as he arrives for the first session of the Lok Sabha on Monday. Picture by Prem Singh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took oath as member of the new Lok Sabha on Monday amid chants of “Modi, Modi…” before the urge to take a dig at the Opposition and Rahul Gandhi who arrived later got the better of the ruling alliance MPs.

Slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki jai” rose repeatedly as two ministers from Bengal took oath while a BJP ally stood up to ask where the Congress chief was, immediately after Modi had finished taking oath.

Earlier in the day, just before the 17th Lok Sabha assembled for its first session, Modi had sought to stress the importance of the Opposition, saying “every word of the Opposition was valuable”.

“The Opposition need not bother about their numbers. I hope they speak actively and participate in the House proceedings,” he had said while speaking to reporters.

Inside the House, though, BJP members appeared to take advantage of their overwhelming numerical superiority to take indirect digs at the Opposition.

Modi was the first to take oath and did so to loud cheers and chants of “Modi, Modi”. As soon as he had finished, minister Ramdas Athawale from the Republican Party of India, a BJP ally, stood up and asked where Rahul was.

Smriti Irani, some BJP members sniggered, had defeated him. The reference was to Rahul’s loss in the traditional Gandhi family pocket borough of Amethi.

Sonia Gandhi was present in the House and some BJP members looked towards her, as if to rub in the defeat at Amethi.

“He (Rahul) is here and will come,” someone from the Opposition benches replied.

Rahul, who has been elected from Wayanad in Kerala, arrived after the lunch break and took oath.

“My 4th consecutive term as a Member of the #LokSabha begins today. 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,” Rahul said in a tweet.

After Modi, the loudest cheer was reserved for Smriti when the Union minister for women and child development took oath, with the Prime Minister himself leading from the front bench.

Modi thumped his desk as Smriti was called to take oath.

Chants of “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Bangla” rose when two ministers from Bengal — Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhuri — took oath, the obvious intention being to stress the BJP’s performance in Bengal where it won 18 seats in a dramatic surge.

Trinamul Congress members sat quiet, preferring to ignore the taunt.

Another slogan that BJP members raised frequently when their party MPs took oath was “Bharat Mata ki jai”. Many BJP MPs took oath in Sanskrit, though some of them found it difficult to pronounce correctly.

Slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki jai” had also been raised in the 16th Lok Sabha — where too the BJP had a majority on its own — but they were heard more often this time, underlining the party’s dominance.

The BJP had won 282 seats on its own in 2014 in a House of 543. This time it has 303 MPs.