Pragya debuts as MP with row over oath

Opposition members rose in protest, accusing her of straying from the prepared text

  • Published 18.06.19, 6:45 AM
  • Updated 18.06.19, 6:45 AM
  • a min read
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Pragya at Parliament on Monday. (PTI)

Terror accused BJP member Pragya Singh Thakur kicked off a controversy on her first day in Parliament by affixing her spiritual guru’s name to hers while taking the oath as an MP, triggering Opposition protests in the Lok Sabha.

The Bhopal MP appended “Swami Purna Chetanand Avdheshanand Giri” to her name while taking the oath in Sanskrit. Opposition members rose in protest, accusing her of straying from the prepared text and asserting this was not allowed.

Pro-tem Speaker Virendra Kumar told Pragya she could, instead, mention her father’s name if she wanted. Kumar added that she could take the oath in the name of “God” or “the Constitution”.

Pragya insisted that what she was stating was indeed her full name and that she had given it in writing on the swearing-in form. “This is my name,” she said.

Some Opposition members were heard protesting even against the use of the honorific “Sadhvi” before her name, underlining that it was not part of her official name as in the poll panel records.

“Allow me to take the oath in the name of God,” Pragya chided the Opposition.

Kumar assured the House he would go through the records and remove anything found “unofficial”. He promised to check Pragya’s victory certificate.

After two attempts, Pragya eventually took the oath without mentioning her name at all, which is unusual.

Pragya is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts and is currently on bail. The BJP had fielded her from Bhopal, claiming her candidature was a political statement against the Congress’s campaign against “saffron terror”.

Pragya had later courted controversy by terming Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse a “patriot”. Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP had condemned her Godse comment and promised disciplinary action, which it has not taken so far.