New Delhi: After attending the oath ceremony of the Congress's Kamal Nath as pro-tem Speaker at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi drove the short distance to Parliament House where a new session began today.
Mr Modi, who will take oath as a first-time MP tomorrow, said before entering Parliament, "In this temple of democracy we will work for the hopes and aspirations and the dreams of people. Thank you for blessing us with a mandate and electing the party."
The death of senior cabinet minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident yesterday has cast a shadow of gloom over what was to have been a very special day for Mr Modi's BJP - the party gets to occupy the treasury benches after a decade.
As the House convened, Mr Kamal Nath read out a condolence message for Mr Munde and the members of the 16th Lok Sabha stood in silence. The House was adjourned after paying tribute to Mr Munde, who had won the Beed Lok Sabha seat in the general election last month.
In a meeting held later, the Cabinet approved the President's address to the joint session of Parliament.
Tomorrow, 542 newly-elected MPs will be sworn in by Mr Kamal Nath. Till a regular Speaker is elected, the pro-tem Speaker conducts House proceedings. Mr Kamal Nath was elected to be pro-tem speaker as the seniormost member of the Lok Sabha. The 67-year-old is a nine-time MP.
Speaking to NDTV earlier today, Mr Nath said, "Politics has changed in terms of responsibilities. Perception and aspiration of people has changed," and added that the Congress "will work to be a constructive opposition." The Congress, with 44 seats, is at weakest ever strength in the House.
The BJP has won 282 seats and its allies another 54 seats.
On Friday, a new Lok Sabha Speaker will be elected. BJP sources said Sumitra Mahajan, an eight-time MP from Indore, is set to take over as the next Speaker. On Monday, June 9, the President will address a joint session of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The week long session ends on June 11.