Forty-five of the 61 newly elected members of Rajya Sabha took oath on Wednesday (July 22), with Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urging them to uphold rules and procedures when discharging their duties as lawmakers and not fall prey to disruptions.
Among the 45 were colleagues-turned-foes Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh. Scindia, who is now with the BJP and took oath as a member from Madhya Pradesh, greeted his bete noire before taking oath.
Scindia and Singh had differences that led to Scindia quitting the Congress. Scindia, along with 22 other MLAs, joined the BJP after the then Kamal Nath government reportedly denied him a seat in the Rajya Sabha, favouring Singh instead.
Scindia’s move led to the fall of the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh and led to the appointment of Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the new Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, Scindia also greeted Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha.
The 45 members, including 34 first-timers, took oath in the Rajya Sabha chamber following physical-distancing norms. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat earlier said 36 first-timers took oath but later corrected it to 34.
In total, 61 members have been elected to the upper house of which 43 are first-timers. Those who could not take oath on Wednesday will do so during the monsoon session.
Twelve sitting Rajya Sabha members who have been re-elected, including Sharad Pawar, Harivansh, Ramdas Athawale, Digvijaya Singh, Bhubaneswar Kalita, Prem Chand Gupta, and Biswajit Daimary, also took oath.
Former Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, who has been a five-time member of the lower house, is among the first-time Rajya Sabha members.
Congress member K C Venugopal, elected from Rajasthan, is also a first timer in the upper house. Scindia and Kharge are also first-time members of the upper house who took oath.
After the oath-taking ceremony, Naidu urged the MPs to not fall prey to the temptation of disrupting the proceedings of the house for “short-term gains”. The chairman suggested the members to question themselves at the end of each session whether they acted to enhance the dignity of the institution and whether their conduct was ethical. “Answers to these simple questions would guide you on the right path,” he said.
“Ensuring rule of law is the spirit of our law of the land (Constitution). It shall begin with your compliance with the rules and procedures of this house,” Naidu said. He said as lawmakers for the nation, the MPs should ensure their conduct in the house is in conformity with the rules and precedents. “Time well-spent is a life well-lived. While the house is in session, be in the house and be with the people during the inter-session period,” the chairman said.
Naidu suggested the first-time members to enhance their knowledge about the history and contribution of the house during the last 68 years by reading standard books. He said his plan to administer oath earlier had to be put on hold due to the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions and a few newly elected members had expressed concern over travelling long distance.
Referring to the concerted efforts being made by the central and state governments and other stakeholders to contain the pandemic, Naidu hoped normal life will resume soon.
The new members, including three women, took oath in Telugu, Bodo, Kannada, Manipuri, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil, Bengali, Hindi and English.
Among the members who took oath are Priyanka Chaturvedi and Rajeev Satav from Maharashtra, Sumer Singh Solanki from Madhya Pradesh, Nabam Rebia from Arunachal Pradesh, Biswajit Daimary from Assam, Vivek Thakur from Bihar, Shaktisinh Gohil, Abhay Bharadwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin from Gujarat.
Deepinder Singh Hooda and Ram Chander Jangra from Haryana, Indu Goswami from Himachal Pradesh, Deepak Prakash from Jharkhand, Ashok Gasti and Iranna Kadadi from Karnataka, Udayanraje Bhosale and Bhagwat Karad from Maharashtra, Leishemba Sanajaoba from Manipur, K Vanlalvena from Mizoram, and Rajendra Gehlot from Rajasthan, besides Ayodhya Rami Reddy Alla, Pilli Subhaschandra Bose and Venkataramana Rao Mopidevi from Andhra Pradesh also took oath.
Muzibulla Khan, Sujeet Kumar, Mamata Mohanta and Subhash Chandra Singh from Odisha, Neeraj Dangi from Rajasthan, K P Munisamy, G K Vasan from Tamil Nadu and Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya from West Bengal were the others who took oath on Wednesday.
(With inputs from agencies)