New Delhi: Pranab Mukherjee and LK Advani on Monday led the newly-elected members of the 15th Lok Sabha in taking oath of affirmation with seniormost member of the House Manikrao Gavit presiding over the session as Protem Speaker.
Mukherjee, the leader of the House and Advani, the leader of opposition were the first to take oath and sign the ‘Roll of Members´ after Lok Sabha secretary general PDT Achary called their names.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a member of Rajya Sabha, was present in the House.
Mukherjee and Advani were followed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi who took oath in Hindi and BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan who took oath in Sanskrit.
Watching the proceedings from the Speaker’s enclosure were Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar, Congress leaders Keshav Rao, Rajiv Shukla and Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav. Former MP Ramdas Athawale was also present in the special gallery.
After the secretary general tabled the list of members elected to the House, Gavit said President Pratibha Patil had nominated senior MPs Basudeb Acharia (CPM), Arjun Charan Sethi (BJD), Biren Singh Engti (Congress) and Sumitra Mahajan (BJP) to preside over the administration of oath to the members.
Even before new members took oath, the 15th Lok Sabha reported one resignation taking the effective strength of the House to 542.
Gavit also informed the House that SP member Akhilesh Yadav had resigned from his Firozabad seat on 21 May. His resignation had been accepted on 26 May.
Besides Firozabad, Yadav had also won from SP pocketborough of Kannauj. His resignation from Firozabad brings down the strength of SP in the House from 23 to 22.
Trinamool Congress’ first-time members Kabir Suman, Tapas Pal and Shatabdi Roy, whose party is a key constituent of the ruling UPA, were seen sitting on the opposition benches as the proceedings began.
Their party colleagues Saugata Roy and Sisir Adhikary - both ministers - were sitting on the treasury benches. Trinamool chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee was not present in the House till the lunch recess.
Members of the Left parties were a scattered lot. While senior CPI(M) member Basudeb Acharia was seated in the first row, his colleague Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) was seated in the fourth row with other members sitting elsewhere.
Several members, including leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram, almost forgot to sign the ‘Roll of Members´ and Lok Sabha officials had to point it out to them.
Rahul Gandhi came into the House a little while after it had assembled and was seen sitting with external affairs minister S M Krishna in the last row.
Congress leaders Rajiv Shukla, Keshav Rao, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, BJP’s Prakash Javadekar and former MP Ramdas Athawale watched the proceedings from the special gallery.
Athawale, who made his presence felt in the 14th Lok Sabha by reciting poems and making comments, lost the election from Shirdi.
All TDP members were wearing yellow shirts and scarfs, the colour associated with the party.