- Pragya Thakur attached spiritual leader's name to hers while taking oath
- Claimed she used the same name in her form when members objected
- Pragya Thakur was involved in several controversies during the elections
BJP leader Pragya Thakur sparked off a new controversy on Monday by attaching the name of her spiritual guru to hers while taking oath as a member of the 17th Lok Sabha. Opposition leaders protested in the house, saying that members are required to go exactly by the record during the swearing-in process.
The 49-year-old politician added "Swami Purna Chetnanand Avdheshanand Giri" as a suffix to her name while taking the oath in Sanskrit, news agency PTI reported. When opposition members objected, she claimed that the name she used was the same as the one mentioned in the form filled up for the swearing-in process.
BJP parliamentarian Virendra Kumar, who was sworn in as the Pro Tem Speaker earlier on Monday, assured the protesting lawmakers that he would go through the records and remove anything found to be "unofficial". He also appealed for order in the house, so the oath-taking process could be completed without further disruptions.
According to news agency ANI, it took Pragya Thakur three attempts to swear in as a lawmaker.
While Virendra Kumar will oversee the oath-taking of newly elected Lok Sabha members until Tuesday, his role as Pro Tem Speaker will cease to exist once the new speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha is elected on Wednesday. He had won the election from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh on a BJP ticket.
Pragya Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, was involved in several controversies during the Lok Sabha elections. Her remarks on Nathuram Godse, a right-wing extremist who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in January 1948, and 26/11 hero Hemant Karkare, who she claimed was killed by terrorists because of a curse she had placed on him, drew criticism cutting across party lines.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who led the BJP to an impressive victory in the Lok Sabha elections, took oath earlier in the day to the accompaniment of loud "Modi, Modi" and "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" chants. Among the other lawmakers sworn in were Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Smriti Irani.
However, some legislators objected to religious slogans such as "Jai Shri Ram" being raised during the oath-taking process. "This is not the right place for raising religous slogans, they can do that at temples," ANI quoted Navneet Kaur Rana, an independent parliamentarian from Amravati in Maharashtra, as saying.
(With inputs from Agencies)