The second day of the oath-taking of the members of the new Lok Sabha was characterised by much commotion. BJP MPs heckled a few Opposition MPs with slogans such as ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. A pattern was evident in the choice of the MPs’ targets, who were mostly Muslim MPs like Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM and Azam Khan of SP, Shafiqur Rehman Barq and ST Hassan and every MP of the TMC and former Congress President Sonia Gandhi. In contrast, Congress President Rahul Gandhi was not met with heckling and slogans when he took the oath on Monday, 17 June.
Slogans differed with the MPs. The BJP MPs shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ throughout the oath-taking of West Bengal MPs, in concord with the Party’s use of the slogan against CM Mamata Banerjee. On the other
The AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi who won his fourth term in a row from Hyderabad first began by urging the BJP MPs to shout more slogans but soon after he took his oath in Urdu, he replied to them by saying, “Jai Bhim, Jai Mim, Takbir Allahu Akbar, Jai Hind.” Later, he spoke to the media outside Parliament and said: “It is good that they remember such things when they see me, I hope they will also remember the constitution and deaths of children in Muzaffarpur”.
Barq, the Samajwadi Party MP from Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh, was greeted with slogans of ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai.’ Some BJP MPs also ordered Barq to say ‘Vande Mataram’, teasing him for his earlier refusal to chant the slogan in the House. After taking his oath in Urdu, Barq said “Constitution Zindabad but I won’t say Vande Mataram as it is un-Islamic.” Barq’s party colleague ST Hassan, who represents neigbouring Moradabad, responded to the heckling by shouting “Hindustan Zindabad” after taking his oath in Urdu. Rampur MP Azam Khan ignored the heckling and didn’t respond to it as did Congress’ Sonia Gandhi.
However, the heckling from the BJP benches and the responses from the Opposition grew much more heated when the MPs from West Bengal took
Rehman, a first-time MP from Jangipur, was also subjected to intense heckling by many from the BJP benches, who shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram’. Rehman responded by beginning his oath with “Bismillah-i-Rehman-i-Rahim” (In the name of Allah the beneficient, the merciful) and ended it with “Jai Hind, Jai Bangla, Khuda Hafiz”. Murshidabad MP Abu Taher Khan gave an almost identical response as Rehman. He too began his oath with “Bismillah-i-Rehman-Rahim” and ended it with “Jai Hind, Jai Bangla, Allahu Akbar, Khuda Hafiz”.
Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee had to face the most intense bout of shouting from the BJP benches. The Diamond Harbour MP responded by saying, “Thank you for such a welcome, it seems I am more popular than PM Narendra Modi in the House”. Some TMC MPs like Saugata Roy chose not to respond to the heckling. Actor-politician Deepak Adhikari ‘Dev’ from Ghatal chose a more conciliatory approach by urging BJP MPs to “work together to serve the nation”. Arambagh MP Aparupa Poddar got into an argument with BJP MPs who taunted her for taking oath in Hindi. Howrah MP Prasun Banerjee also confronted the BJP benches.
Senior BJP leaders like Rajnath Singh and Ravi Shankar Prasad were present while the heckling of Opposition MPs occurred and didn’t appear to have made any attempt to stop it. The Pro-Tem Speaker Virendra Kumar of the BJP also didn’t do much beyond making requests to maintain decorum and not say anything beyond the oath.