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After Row Over Oath, Asaduddin Owaisi Defends His Palestine Chant

AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi’s remarks after taking his oath as a Lok Sabha member sparked a massive political controversy today. Following his oath – that he took in Urdu – he expressed solidarity with the conflict-affected region of Palestine, praised his state, Telangana, and raised the AIMIM’s slogan for Muslims.

The epilogue by the five-time Hyderabad MP led to strong reactions from members of the treasury benches, prompting the chair to strike it off from the official record.

BJP leader Radha Mohan Singh, the presiding officer at the time, assured members that any statements beyond the formal oath would not be recorded. Pro tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab also confirmed that only the oath or affirmation was being officially noted.

Mr Owaisi, however, defended his remarks while talking to reporters outside Parliament: “Other members are also saying different things. I said ‘Jai Bheem, Jai Meem, Jai Telangana, Jai Palestine’. How is it wrong? Tell me the provision of Constitution. You should also listen to what others said. I said what I had to. Read what Mahatma Gandhi had said about Palestine.”

When he was asked the reason for mentioning Palestine, Mr Owaisi explained, “They are oppressed people”.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje has written to the Home Minister’s office objecting to his speech and seeking action in the matter. She also requested the pro tem Speaker to ask Mr Owaisi to take the oath once again.

In a similar incident in Rajya Sabha earlier this year, AAP’s Swati Maliwal was instructed by the  Chairman to retake the oath as she raised a slogan while reading out the oath.

Mr Owaisi was among the remaining MPs who took their oath today, following a total of 262 newly elected MPs, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who did so on Monday, the inaugural session of the 18th Lok Sabha. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also took oath today, holding up a copy of the Constitution in his hand.

The new controversy coincides with an ongoing row about naming the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The BJP’s efforts to reach a consensus over the reappointment of Om Birla as the Speaker failed this morning as the INDIA bloc decided to nominate eight-time MP K Suresh for the post.

This will be the first time that elections are held for the Speaker of the lower house, as traditionally the Lok Sabha Speaker and Deputy Speaker have been elected by consensus between the ruling party and the opposition.

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Source: NDTV

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