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Bittersweet start to LS session
PM begins innings with promise to fulfil people’s dreams as House mourns Munde’s death
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 4
Meeting a day after the death of Union Minister Gopinath Munde, the 16th Lok Sabha assembled for the first time to welcome its 542 newly-elected MPs today amidst mixed feelings of hope and melancholy.

A promise of hope came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, in his first speech outside Parliament this morning, vowed to work for the aspirations of people. Noting with humility the “massive mandate” the BJP had been given, Modi said he would work to fulfil people’s dreams.

Not to miss the fact that for Modi it was not a dream beginning considering it coincided with the loss of Munde, a Cabinet colleague and Beed MP whose life and times the Lok Sabha saluted in a brief assembly as Pro Tem Speaker Kamal Nath offered rich obituary references.

Post condolences, the House adjourned till tomorrow to meet again for the oath-taking ceremony of new MPs.

That apart, the Prime Minister carried his warmth to the Lok Sabha, greeting leaders of all political parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, personally to inject bonhomie into a House infamous for historic disruptions over its past five year life.

Modi was seen shaking hands with SP’s Mulayam Singh, AIADMK’s M Thambidurai, TMC’s Sudeep Bandopadhyay and BJD’s Arjan Sethi. The momentary exchange of greetings between Modi and Sonia was the talk of Parliament compound today with MPs discussing it to the last detail — tenor to texture. As expected, it was a formal exchange.

In fact, Sonia was caught unawares by Modi who was already in the aisle when she walked into the House around 11.01 am. Her son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi came later when the obituaries were on and occupied the last but one row. It was interesting to see cousins Rahul and Varun Gandhi switch sides though both sat in the ninth rows behind their leaders.

The new-look Lok Sabha appeared much leaner in stature having lost its stalwarts such as JDU’s Sharad Yadav, CPM’s Basudeb Acharia, CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta and Congress’ Sushilkumar Shinde. The Opposition led by Sonia (Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Leader in Lok Sabha sat by her side) looked particularly weary, losing its armour of young and old MPs.

Modi greets Sonia

PM Narendra Modi personally greeted leaders of all political parties, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He also shook hands with SP’s Mulayam Singh, AIADMK’s M Thambidurai and TMC’s Sudeep Bandopadhyay





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