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New friends, forgotten foes on Day 1 of 15th LS

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 01, 2009 16:19 IST
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As the 15th Lok Sabha assembled for the first time on Monday, it was all in the family for many members. The House, which possibly has the highest number of members related to each other, saw fathers, daughters, sons and cousins assembling together under one roof as representatives of people.

Leading the list were Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, elected from Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively. Others in the category were Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar and daughter Supriya Sule, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and son Akhilesh Yadav, Trinamool leader Sisir Adhikary and his son Shubhendu Adhikary.

Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh and son Jayant Choudhary were seen sitting together. National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah has his son-in-law Sachin Pilot as a colleague in the House. The Ajmer Member of Parliament shook hands with him after taking the oath. Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam members and cousins M K Azhagiri and Dayanidhi Maran were seen seated next to each other.

Even before the new members took oath, the 15th Lok Sabha reported one resignation, taking the effective strength of the House to 542. Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav quit his Firozabad seat on May 21. His resignation was accepted on May 26.

Besides Firozabad, Yadav had also won from the SP stronghold of Kannauj. His resignation from Firozabad brings down the strength of the SP in the House from 23 to 22.

Trinamool Congress' first-time members Kabir Suman, Tapas Pal and Shatabdi Roy, whose party is a key constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, were seen sitting on the opposition benches as the proceedings began. Their party colleagues Saugata Roy and Sisir Adhikary -- both ministers -- were sitting on the treasury benches. Trinamool chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee was not present in the House till the lunch recess.

Members of the Left parties were a scattered lot. While senior Communist Party of India - Marxist member Basudeb Acharia was seated in the first row, his colleague Gurudas Dasgupta of the Communist Party of India was seated in the fourth row with other members sitting elsewhere.

Several members, including Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram, almost forgot to sign the 'Roll of Members' and Lok Sabha officials had to point it out to them.

Rahul Gandhi came into the House a little while after it had assembled and was seen sitting with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in the last row.

Congress leaders Rajiv Shukla, Keshav Rao, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, Bharatiya Janata Party's Prakash Javadekar and former Member of Parliament Ramdas Athawale watched the proceedings from the special gallery.

Athawale, who made his presence felt in the 14th Lok Sabha by reciting poems and making comments, lost the election from Shirdi.

All Telugu Desam Party members were wearing yellow shirts and scarfs, the colour associated with the party.

Reflecting the changed political reality in the new Lok Sabha, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav were today seen sitting together as the House met for its first session.  

The two leaders of the Fourth Front were sitting in the front row of the benches meant for the parties supporting the ruling coalition. 

Congress President Sonia Gandhi was seen letting bygones be bygones when Lalu Prasad came to take oath as she led her partymen in thumping the desk. Having lost power, Prasad was certainly not in his elements and was seen giving an occasional sheepish smile.  

Janata Dal - United leaders Rajiv Ranjan Singh 'Lallan' and Sharad Yadav were seen taking a dig at Prasad noting that the Chair has declared recess after he has taken oath. Gandhi was seen greeting RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh with great enthusiasm when he took oath. 

With the focus on the treasury benches, BJP stalwarts L K Advani, Jaswant Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi, Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj were occupying the front row in the opposition side. Their only job today was to greet the new members.  

Incidentally, except for Advani, all other saffron frontbenchers were members of the Rajya Sabha prior to the election. 

Takom Sanjoy, Congress member from Arunachal Pradesh, stood out for his attire which included a dark blue jacket and a yellow headgear of different feathers. As he came to take oath, some members, including Lalu Prasad, were seen inquiring about his headgear.

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