Gaffes and laughs at Rashtrapati Bhavan (Sidelights)

May 28th, 2009 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) It was a sombre ceremony at the Ashoka Hall in Rashtrapati Bhavan as 59 new parliamentarians took oath as ministers Thursday — but for a few eager MPs who unwittingly evoked much laughter.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who was sworn in as minister of state with independent charge, walked away before remembering the customary signing of the register. As the hall erupted in laughter, Ramesh sat down with a smile and signed with a flourish.

A few minutes later, the august gathering again broke into laughter when Congress MP V. Narayanasamy made a pleading gesture to President Pratibha Patil so she would wait for a few seconds as he was not ready with his papers to read out the oath.

The president had started speaking before Narayanasamy could begin. The former laughed and the gathering guffawed.

There was a slip-up yet again. Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Ray started taking the oath before the president could begin. Ray, who seemed to be in a tearing hurry then paused, as everyone was in splits.

Even party chief Mamata Banerjee, who was watching the one-and-a-half hour long ceremony rather seriously, had a smile on her lips.


In name of god, truth and Allah

Of the 59 ministers who took oath, some did it in the name of god while others solemnly affirmed to work for the country.

Forty six recited the familiar “I… swear in the name of god that I will bear true faith and solemnly affirm…”

But there were as many as 13 ministers who simply said they “solemnly affirmed” or took oath in the name of “satya nishtha”, meaning truth.

Sultan Ahmed, a Trinamool Congress MP from Uluberia, loudly said, “I, Sultan Ahmed, swear in the name of Allah…”

All the seven MPs of the DMK, an atheist party, stood out for “solemnly affirming”.


Cherishing the oath

Congress MPs Shashi Tharoor and Arun Yadav seemed to cherish their oath taking moments.

Former UN undersecretary general Tharoor, a first time MP, was eloquent and theatrical as he spoke in English. Yadav took his own time while taking the oath in Hindi. He went slowly over each line, giving pauses and enunciating every word.


Blessings from Sonia Gandhi

While some folded their hands into a customary ‘namaste’ for leaders seated in the front row, there were those who went a step further and sought the blessings of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi before taking oath.

Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia came very close to the front row, bent rather low, and then folded his hands.

The MP who actually bent down to touch Sonia Gandhi’s feet was Congress leader Pradeep Jain. Before going ahead to take his oath, Jain, who won from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, sought the Congress chief’s blessings.

Actor and DMK MP D. Napolean, after taking the oath and signing the register, stood at a corner and did ‘namaste’ to all the senior leaders sitting in the front row. It made for a dramatic exit.


Signing off with a flourish

They were the only ones to do so. Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh and Virbhadhra Singh, instead of using the navy blue Parker pen offered by the presidential palace staff to sign the register, opted for their own pens.

Ramesh flicked out his fountain pen with a flourish, while Singh used his ballpoint.

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