Rahul Gandhi, cousin Varun among those taking oath Tuesday

June 2nd, 2009 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Rahul Gandhi New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) The formal oath taking by the 543 newly-elected members of the 15th Lok Sabha concluded Tuesday with several prominent leaders, including Rahul Gandhi of the Congress, and his aunt Maneka Gandhi, cousin Varun Gandhi, both from the BJP as well as BJP president Rajnath Singh being sworn in.
The others who took oath Tuesday were Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Murli Manohar Joshi.

Congress’s Manica Tagore from Tamil Nadu, who beat MDMK’s Vaiko, was the last member to be sworn in in the afternoon. He paid obeisance to Congress president Sonia Gandhi before taking his oath in Tamil.

Though the exercise was carried out in the alphabetical order of the states, Tagore was not present in the house when MPs from his state took oath before those from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. The oath taking began Monday, the first day of the session. On Tuesday, members from Rajasthan were the first to take oath.

With the ceremony over, the next item on the agenda of the first session of the new Lok Sabha is the election of the speaker and deputy speaker - slated for Wednesday. President Pratibha Patil will address a joint session of parliament the next day.

The Congress has propped up Sasaram MP Meira Kumar for speaker, making her the first woman speaker of India. In keeping with tradition, the Congress has offered the deputy speakership to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has named tribal leader from Jharkhand Karia Munda for the post.

Just as Rahul Gandhi, 38, took his oath, he was greeted with loud thumping of the desks and applause by Congress party members.

His mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi joined in the applause.

After taking oath, Rahul Gandhi went to the opposition benches to shake hands with veteran leaders, including BJP’s L.K. Advani, Mulayam Singh Yadav and CPI-M leader Basudeb Acharya.

His estranged cousin Varun Gandhi, first-time MP, paid respects to his aunt Sonia Gandhi before taking his oath in Hindi.

Priyanka Gandhi, sitting in the speaker’s gallery with her husband Robert Vadra, smiled when her aunt Maneka Gandhi took oath in English. Maneka and Sonia, however, avoided eye contact.

Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress, who was not present in the house Monday when cabinet ministers and ministers of state with independent charge were sworn in as MPs, completed the formality along with MPs from her home state West Bengal.

Cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin, Congress MP from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, took oath, as his wife Sangeeta Bijalani watched from the visitors’ gallery. DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu and Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh also took oath Tuesday.

Telugu film star and Telangana Rashtra Samiti’s Vijayasanthi, actress Jaya Prada (Samajwadi Party) and Tamil actor and DMK’s K. Sivakumar also took oath Tuesday.

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