In a calculated departure from the Narendra Modi of 2002, the Prime Minister had on the first day of the 17th Lok Sabha session stated that “Every word of the opposition is valuable,” and slighting them in the same sentence, he had added, “The Opposition need not bother about their numbers”. But, even he would not have expected the Kerala MPs to have lived up their job and made the pro tem Speaker Virendra Kumar to rule in their favour.
When Pragya Thakur attempted to use a name (Swami Purna Chetnanand Avdheshanand Giri) as suffix to her name Pragya Singh Thakur, it was the Kerala MPs sitting in the second row behind Congress Parliamentary Party leader Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi who began to jeer at her. Congress MPs Rajmohan Unnithan, Hibi Eden, TN Prathapan, Dean Kuriakose and Benny Behanan and Revolutionary Socialist Party’s NK Premachandran created an uproar. Even after Premachandran pointed towards the rules, the pro tem Speaker attempted to carry on with the oath, but they were again heckled by the Kerala MPs.
Then when TN Prathapan raised the certificate to show that the name that Pragya Thakur was attempting to use the name that was not on the certificate, the pro tem Speaker was forced to ask the Lok Sabha Secretary General, the name of Pragya Thakur on the certificate. Then amidst much noise and objections, Kumar ruled that only the name written in her election certificate issued by the returning officer would go on record, forcing her to stick to Pragya Singh Thakur.
Slighted by this, the Malegaon blast accused, took oath in Sanskrit and ended it with ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogan. Then a few other BJP members continued to raise ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogans as a part of their oath.
Kollam MP Premachandran had to point it out to the pro tem Speaker that according to rules, slogans are not allowed as a part of the oath. Again, the Congress MPs TN Prathapan, Hibi Eden and Benny Behanan backed the RSP MP. It forced the pro tem Speaker to again look at the rule book and pass the order that slogans could not be allowed as a part of the oath.
Even when the MPs were pointing towards the rule book, all that the BJP MPs could do is raise the slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, in an attempt to play their nationalist card, forgetting that it was Parliament and not the streets.