New Delhi: The first day of the 18th Lok Sabha session witnessed mixed reactions from both the treasury benches and the Opposition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed it as a historic moment for India’s parliamentary democracy, with the newly elected MPs taking oath in the new Parliament building for the first time since Independence.

However, while promising to work “three times harder”, the PM also took a swipe at the Opposition, especially the Congress, referring to the 25 June 1975 Emergency as a “black spot on the Constitution”.

In response, the Congress accused Modi of ‘diversionary’ tactics, saying the PM had nothing new to offer in his inaugural address to the 18th Lok Sabha.

Consensus is Key

Emphasizing the challenges of running a coalition government during his third term, Modi said while a majority is required to run a government, “consensus is very important” to run the country, highlighting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s reliance on allies and like-minded opposition parties to advance India’s objectives. 

The BJP secured 240 seats in the 543-member Lower House, falling short of an absolute majority of 272 seats in the recently-concluded general elections.

“It’s for the second time after Independence that a government has got the opportunity to serve the country for the third time in a row, this opportunity has come after 60 years which is a matter of pride,” he added.

This third-term mandate, he said, reflects the people’s approval of the government’s intentions, policies and dedication. Modi also said that the public expects meaningful debate and diligence from the House, and not disruptions and drama.

“People seek substance, not slogans. The country needs a strong, responsible Opposition, and I am confident that the MPs elected to the 18th Lok Sabha will strive to meet the expectations of the common man.”

Viksit Bharat by 2047

Emphasizing the collective responsibility needed to achieve India’s development goals and lift 25 crore citizens out of poverty, Modi extended an olive branch to the Opposition, inviting them to participate in nation-building.

“Parliament sessions are an opportunity for us to realize the dreams of Indian citizens. It is an opportunity for us to build Shreshtha Bharat and achieve our goal of Viksit Bharat by 2047.” 

Defence minister Rajnath Singh, home minister Amit Shah, and road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari, among others, were sworn in as members of the Lok Sabha. Amid protests by opposition members over the NEET paper leak, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan also took the oath.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to microblogging site X to criticize the Prime Minister. “The non-biological PM who suffered a resounding personal, political, and moral defeat in the Lok Sabha elections has just given his usual desh ke naam sandesh outside the Parliament as the 18th Lok Sabha prepares to commence its tenure,” he said.

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Published: 24 Jun 2024, 06:33 PM IST