New Delhi: Two days after newly-elected MPs took oath in the Lok Sabha amidst chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai‘ and ‘Vande Mataram‘, the 17th Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla on Thursday told mediapersons that he wouldn’t allow ‘chanting of religious slogans’ in the Parliament.

Earlier in the day, Birla was quoted by news agency ANI saying, “Who said you cannot say ‘Vande Mataram‘ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai‘?”

In a report by the Hindustan Times, Birla remarked, “I don’t think Parliament is the place for sloganeering, for showing placards, or for coming to the well…”

This comes after All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi’s swearing-in was met with loud cheering of ‘Jai Shri Ram‘, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.

A smiling Owaisi waved at them and proceeded to take the oath. Soon after going through the procedure, Owaisi responded to the slogans with ‘Jai Bhim‘, ‘Nara-e-takbeer Allah Hu Akbar’ and ‘Jai Hind’.

Reacting to slogans by pro-Hindutva side, Owaisi said, “It is good that they (BJP MP’s) remember such things when they see me. I hope they will also remember the Constitution and deaths of children in Muzaffarpur.”

Also, an exchange of sarcasm was visible between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Lakhimpur Kheri MP Ajay Kumar when the BJP legislator raised ‘Jai Shri Ram‘ and ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogans.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi then intervened, indicating Rahul Gandhi not to make any comment.

Also, on Tuesday, Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq also refused to chant “Vande Mataram“, saying “it’s against Islam.” His refusal was then followed by loud chants of “Vande Mataram” and “Jai Shree Ram” by other leaders present in parliament.

 

With inputs from IANS