New stars in Rajya Sabha, spotlight on Mayawati

Arun Jaitley  

Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati, Congress Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Rajeev Shukla and Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi, actor Jaya Bachchan (Samajwadi Party) and former hockey captain Dilip Singh Tirkey (Biju Janata Dal) were among the 50 members who took oath in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Congress member Abhishek Singhvi, who took oath in the Chairman's chamber on April 9 — a few days before the CD controversy broke — did not attend the House.

The oath-taking reflected the cosmopolitan nature of the country — members took oath in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Telugu, Sanskrit, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya and English.

Mr. Jaitley, who was re-elected from Gujarat, was the first to be called. After taking oath in Hindi, he greeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also the leader of the House, and Chairman Hamid Ansari. He was later again declared the Leader of the Opposition.

Loudest applause

But the cynosure was the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mayawati. She received the loudest ovation when she rose to take oath, which she did in Hindi. That done, she greeted Mr. Ansari, signed the register, turned around to greet Mr. Jaitley and then walked up to the Prime Minister who stood up to acknowledge her greetings with folded hands.

In fact, even before the House met for the day, a smiling BSP supremo was greeted by leaders cutting across party lines. Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav too walked up to her and greeted her while pointing senior colleague Mohan Singh to her.

The former Deputy Chairpersons of the Rajya Sabha, K. Rahman Khan (Congress) and Najma Heptulla (BJP), were greeted with thumping of desks across the House. Ms. Heptulla took oath in chaste Urdu. The former Minister and Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury took oath in Hindi.

Ms. Bachchan, who survived her estrangement with the former Samajwadi Party general secretary, Amar Singh, to get a second term from Uttar Pradesh, took oath in English. There was a flutter as word spread that her actor-husband Amitabh Bachchan was watching from the VIP gallery. But it was not so. “Everybody [in the family] was busy shooting [for films],” she later said.

Senior Samajwadi Party member Brij Bhushan Tiwari returned to the House from Uttar Pradesh, as also Janata Dal (United) member Bashisht Narain Singh from Bihar. BJP general secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad was among the six members from Bihar to take oath.

Mr. Deshmukh, who along with fellow partyman Rajeev Shukla was elected from Maharashtra, took oath in Marathi, while Mr. Shukla stuck to Hindi.

Superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi (Congress) greeted the Prime Minister, Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy and BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu after taking oath.

CPI(M) leader Tapan Kumar Sen, who returned to the Upper House from West Bengal, took oath in Bengali.

Nationalist Congress Party member D.P. Tripathi, elected from Maharashtra, took oath in Marathi. Among others who took oath were members from Andhra Pradesh Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu (Congress), C.M. Ramesh (TDP); Bihar members Anil Sahni, Ali Anwar, Mahendra Prasad (JD-U), Dharmendra Prasad (BJP); Chhattisgarh members B. Jangde (BJP); Gujarat's K.S. Nanubhai, M.M. Laxmanbhai (both BJP), Praveen Rashtrapal (Congress); Haryana MP Shadilal Batra (Congress) and Himachal Pradesh member J.P. Nadda (BJP).

The Karnataka members who took oath included Baswaraj Patil, Ramakrishna R. (both BJP), and Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Congress). Members from Maharashtra included Vandana Chavan (NCP), Anil Desai (Shiv Sena) and Ajay Sancheti. Members from Madhya Pradesh who took oath were Kaptan Singh Solanki, Thawarchand, Phaggan Singh (all BJP) and Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Congress). The lone Uttarakhand member was M.S. Mahra (Congress).

Members from Odisha who took oath included Rabindranarayan Mohapatra (BJD) and A.V. Swamy (Congress). Among members from Rajasthan were Narendra Budania and Bhupinder Yadav (both Congress).

This story has been corrected for a factual error.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 1:43:30 AM |

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