NEW DELHI: The first session of the new 17th Lok Sabha kicked off on Monday with Prime Minister Modi being the first to take the oath as an MP in Hindi in the name of ‘Ishwar’ (god).
Dr Virendra Kumar, who was earlier in the day sworn in by President Ramnath Kovind as the pro-tem speaker until election of a regular Speaker on Wednesday, administered the oath to the MPs, first to Modi and then to the ministers before calling the MPs state-wise alphabetically to be sworn in.
Arriving two minutes before start of the sitting, PM Modi was greeted by the ruling benches with "Bharat Mata ki jai" and a long chant of "Modi, Modi, Modi...." He went around the front benches greeting leaders of the parties. There was another round of cheers and clapping when he took the oath.
The second longest applause was for Smriti Irani, who defeated Congress President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, and it was Modi who enthusiastically thumped the desks with others until she completed her oath.
While majority of the ministers took oath in Hindi, at least 15 preferred other languages, including four (Dr Harsh Vardhan, Sripad Naik, Ashwini Kumar Chaube and Pratap Chandrfa Sarangi) in Sanskrit, two each in English (Babul Supriyo and Angdi Suresh), two in Marathi (Arvind Sawant and Raosaheb Danvi), two in Punjabi (Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Som Prakash) and two in Kannada (DB Sadadand Gowda and Prahlad Joshi).
It was a surprise to many when Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh from Kerala, who took oath as one of the three chairpersons, took oath in Hindi immediately after the PM, and not in English or his mother tongue Malayalam. The other two chairpersons – Bhruthari Mehtab of Biju Janata Dal took oath in Odiya in the name of God and Brij Bhushan in Hindi.
After the three chairpersons, first to take oath was Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, followed by Home Minister Amit shah and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari. Everyone nodded at the PM after taking the oath but Rajnath and Shah walked straight to the pro-tem Speaker without first greeting him.