NEW DELHI: Striking an accommodative note on the first day of the 17th Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advised the Opposition not to worry about their numbers and sought their impartial participation in Parliamentary business. Modi’s outreach after the BJP’s mammoth victory in the Lok Sabha is an attempt to co-opt the Opposition into transacting legislative business in both Houses of Parliament.
“The opposition need not worry about their numbers in the Lok Sabha. When we come to Parliament, we should forget paksh (treasury) and vipaksh (opposition). We should think about issues with a nishpaksh (impartial) spirit and work in the larger interests of the nation,” Modi told reporters before entering Parliament.
Later, Modi tweeted after taking oath as a member of the Lok Sabha that he looked forward to healthy deliberations with fellow members. The first term of the Modi-led NDA government (2014-19) was marked by acrimony between the treasury benches and the Opposition in both Houses, resulting in the lapse of 46 bills that were in various stages, after the dissolution of the previous Lok Sabha.
The Congress, too, didn’t get the status of Leader of Opposition during Modi 1.0 because it failed to win at least 10 per cent seats in the Lok Sabha elections. The situation continues as the grand old party couldn’t muster that number this time around as well. Modi’s positive approach was visible on Sunday as well when during an all-party meeting he sought their full participation in a meeting on simultaneous elections on June 19.
The Opposition, however, chose to keep its fingers crossed, with Congress leader Anand Sharma hoping that the trend set by the BJP-led NDA government in its previous term to push bills without legislative scrutiny using brute majority is reversed.
Congress member from Kerala takes oath in Hindi
Congress member Kodikunnil Suresh from Kerala surprised everyone by taking his oath in the Lok Sabha in Hindi, which was greeted by the vigourous thumping of desks by mainly Hindi-speaking members. Suresh was the second member to take oath after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.