It was a long day for two mothers in the Lok Sabha galleries, waiting to see their sons take oath as Members of the House. Reena Paswan, wife of Minister for Consumer Affairs Ram Vilas Paswan, had taken a seat in the Speaker’s gallery from the outset to watch son Chirag, a second-term MP, being sworn in. Prem Lata, MLA-wife of former Union minister Birender Singh, was also in the VIP gallery. Their son, Brijendra Singh, a former IAS officer, has been elected on a BJP ticket from Hisar, Haryana. The order of oath-taking — first the ministers and then Members elected from states and Union Territories in alphabetical order — left no scope for a short-cut.
With many senior Congress leaders losing in the Lok Sabha elections, Kodikkunnil Suresh, an MP from Kerala, is one of the senior-most MPs in the opposition benches. Amid a buzz that his name is also doing the rounds as a possible Lok Sabha leader of the party, Suresh, elected as one of the panel of chairpersons to oversee the swearing-in, took his oath in Hindi. While the move received applause from the BJP side, Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have asked Suresh why he could not take the oath in his native – Malayalam – language. This prompted some other Congress MPs from Kerala to drop the idea of taking oath in Hindi. At least two of them kept aside their Hindi scripts and stuck to English and Malayalam.
Sumalatha Ambareesh, the Independent MP from Mandya, Karnataka, who won with BJP’s support, was a big hit on the first day of 17th Lok Sabha. She not only received loud cheers and applause when her name was called to take oath but was also a leader much sought after for photographs outside the House. The presence of a lot of visitors from South India made it more hectic for the actor-turned-politician. Some of the visitors were heard referring to her as ‘Clara’, a character she had played, and conquered hearts with, in the 1987 Malayalam film ‘Thoovanathumbikal’.