New Delhi: The 16th Lok Sabha got off to a speedy start Thursday creating a record of sorts with 510 of the 539 members, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top leaders taking oath on a single day.
This is the first time that so many members have taken oath on a single day.
Attired in spotless white kurta-pyjama, the Prime Minister was the first to take oath amid thumping of desks. He took the oath in Hindi in the name of God and he was followed by BJP veteran L K Advani and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Then came the turn of panel of Chairmen--P A Sangma, B S Engti and Arjun Charan Sethi--senior members so that they could sit in the Speaker`s chair to conduct proceedings by turn to assist the pro-tem Speaker Kamal Nath.
This was followed by oath-taking by the members of the council of ministers.
The country`s unity in diversity was on full display as the House boasting of over 300 first timers, including Modi, saw a festive atmosphere.
With many donning traditional dress and head gears, most members took oath in their mother tongue. Some ministers, including Sushma Swaraj, did it in Sanskrit.
Yesterday, the only member who had taken oath was pro-tem Speaker Kamal Nath before President Pranab Mukherjee in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
With the results of Lok Sabha elections bringing in a new political era, it was a scene different from the one witnessed by the House in the last ten years.
The BJP, which for the first time won a majority on its own with 282 members, occupied slightly more than half the House, accompanied by its allies which accounted for more than 50 members.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned yesterday as a mark of respect to former Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde who died in a road accident here yesterday.
On the opposition side, Congress was the largest party with just 44 members. Though the strenth of the House is 543, there have been four vacancies with the Prime Minister resigning the Vadodara seat and Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav Mainpuri seat. Both the leaders had contested from two constituencies each.
TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, who earlier this week became the Chief Minister of Telangana, gave up his Medak Lok Sabha seat while Beed seat fell vacant following the death of Munde.
Several union ministers took oath in Hindi in the name of God and Sushma Swaraj, Uma Bharti and Harsh Vardhan did so in Sanskrit.
Sonia Gandhi made the affirmation in Hindi and so did minister Ram Vilas Paswan of LJP.
Ministers who chose to take oath in their mother tongue, included D V Sadananda Gowda, Ananth Kumar and G M Siddheshwara in Kannada. Sarbananda Sonowal took oath in Assamese and Jual Oram in Odia.
A spirit of democracy was visible in the House as members and leaders were cheered by even their political rivals.
Many members, including leaders from rival sides, greeted each other after taking oath or making the affirmation.
Lok Sabha Secretary General P Sreedharan, who sat through the marathon oath-taking exercise, tried to expedit it a bit by announcing two names of members each time.
With only 29 members left to take oath, the election of the Speaker is expected to take place early tomorrow. Earlier the election was scheduled at 1600 hrs.
BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan will be the Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha with senior leaders from all parties, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, moving motions today proposing her name for the high office.
The name of AIADMK leader M Thambidurai is doing the rounds for the post of Deputy Speaker after the party supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha had a lengthy meeeting with the Prime Minister two days back.