New Delhi, May 20;
Saffron was the dominant colour at the BJP’s parliamentary party meeting in the Central Hall of parliament here Tuesday with many of its newly-elected MPs wearing kurtas, scarfs, jackets and saris of the colour which is associated with the party and is also emblematic of Hindu religion.
Party MPs Yogi Adityanath, Swami Sachchidanand Hari Sakshi and Nirajan Jyoti were clad in saffron. Some others wore saffron kurtas or had the colour on their dupattas, scarfs, jackets or headgear.
There was excitement in the air as BJP MPs met to formally elect Narendra Modi as the leader of the parliamentary party. It was the first occasion when the Bharatiya Janata Party had got majority in the Lok Sabha on its own and the party was keen to make the occasion memorable.
BJP chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Raman Singh, Vasundhra Raje and Manohar Parrikar shared the front rows with seniors like Murli Manohar Joshi, M. Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari.
Joshi was among those who arrived early. Party veteran L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj arrived barely minutes before Modi came, his first entry into the hallowed precincts of the Central Hall where the Indian Constitution was adopted.
Though the occasion was supposed to be a mere formality as Modi had been declared prime ministerial candidate of the party much before the Lok Sabha election, many of those present went through moments of emotion as they experienced the significance of the occasion.
Advani, who initially appeared to have reservations over Modi’s projection as the campaign leader, admitted that tears of joy welled up in his eyes when Modi was greeted by the MPs. He said the historical occasion had come due to favour of the party and Modi.
Modi, in his turn, also turned emotional and said he had done no favour.
“Please don’t use the word ‘kripa’ (favour),” Modi said. “A son doesn’t do a favour to his mother. A son works with dedication. I treat the BJP as my mother just as India is my mother,” he said.
Modi touched Advani’s feet twice during the ceremony and repeatedly referred to parliament as the temple of democracy.
MPs greeted each other with hand shakes and gentle pats. New MPs bowed to seniors in an expression of giving respect.
Party MP from Bikaner Arjun Ram Meghwal said he was enthused by Modi’s speech. He said it was a record of sorts that Modi had entered parliament’s Central Hall for the first time Tuesday only as prime minister-elect.
“Just as he entered the Central Hall for the first time today as PM-elect, he had entered the Gujarat assembly for the first time as chief minister,” he said.