New Delhi: It was day of joy for BJP as union minister Smriti Irani and BJP president Amit Shah took oath as members of the Rajya Sabha, taking the pledge in Sanskrit and Hindi, respectively.
It is worthwhile pointing out that both Irani and Shah were elected from Gujarat in a high-pitched election, in which the BJP also tried to win the third Rajya Sabha seat by fielding another nominee against the Congress’s Ahmed Patel. Patel however managed to win in the last moment.
While it is a debut for BJP President Amit Shah as an MP, this will be the second term for Irani, who first became a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat in 2011. They were administered the oath in Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu chamber.
To give the whole exercise a much needed impetus, the two MPs were accompanied by the likes of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Once the oath ceremony was done and dusted, Amit Shah and his wife called on BJP patriarch L K Advani at his residence to seek his blessings, party leaders said.
Coming to Smriti Irani, she has unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha election twice – in 2004 against Congress’s Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi, and in 2014 against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.
The entry of Amit Shah into Rajya Sabha has come at a juncture when the BJP has made it even with Congress in the Upper House as far as numbers are concerned, and the House has M Venkaiah Naidu, a former BJP president, as its chairman.
In Rajya Sabha, BJP President is expected to sharpen the BJP’s positioning on issues and its counter-offensive to the Opposition, which has, often taking advantage of its numerical superiority, put the government in a corner.