Hindustan or Bharat Row: Controversy on Bihar Assembly Day 1

AIMIM’s Imam insisted on using the word Bharat while taking oath in the Urdu language.

3 min read
The first session of the newly constituted Bihar Legislative Assembly will begin from Monday, 23 November. 

The first session of the newly constituted Bihar Legislative Assembly began with controversy on Monday, 23 November, when AIMIM MLA Akhtarul Imam raised objection over the word 'Hindustan' while he was being administered the oath of office.

Imam, according to ANI, pointed out that the Constitution is above all else and stated that the Constitution refers to the country as “Bharat”.

Akhtarul Imam was being administered oath by pro tem Speaker Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday, and chose to take the oath in Urdu, according to IANS.

Reportedly, MLAs can take oath in five languages - Hindi, English, Sanskrit, Maithili and Urdu. In the first four languages, the word 'Bharat' is used; whereas 'Hindustan' is written on the Urdu oath letter.

According to IANS, Imam insisted on using the word Bharat while taking oath in the Urdu language.

ANI, on the other hand, quoted Imam as saying:

“Oath is taken as per the Constitution which mentions ‘Bharat’ everywhere. I wanted to know whether it’s okay to say ‘Hindustan’ or shall I say ‘Bharat’ during oath-taking today. We’re lawmakers, we should place the Constitution above all.”

Go to Pakistan: BJP Leader

The AIMIM MLA’s decision reportedly attracted flak from the BJP and the JD(U) MLA.

According to IANS, Neeraj Kumar Babloo, the BJP MLA said: "It shows the wrong intention of the AIMIM MLAs for not using 'Hindustan' word in their oath. If they have objection over Hindustan, they should go to Pakistan or any other country. They have no right to stay in our country."

Further, Madan Sahani, the JD(U) MLA said:

“Sometimes new MLAs, in a bid to draw the attention of everyone do something different. But the act of the AIMIM MLAs is highly objectionable...There is no harm in using ‘Hindustan’ during the swearing-in ceremony. Unfortunately, they didn’t follow the tradition of the Bihar Assembly.”

More About the Bihar Assembly Session

The Assembly session is scheduled to continue till 27 November.

Hindustan Times reported that on the first two days, all 243 newly elected members of the Assembly will be administered the oath by the pro tem Speaker.

Jitan Ram Manjhi, president of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), was on 19 November appointed pro tem speaker of the Assembly. Manjhi has been made pro tem Speaker for 23 and 24 November till the Speaker of the Bihar Legislative Assembly is elected.

IANS reported, quoting sources, that former minister Nand Kishore Yadav is the frontrunner for the post of Speaker.

The governor’s address will take place on the third day of the session, while the fourth day will see a discussion on the address, as well as the government’s reply to it, Hindustan Times reported.

The Nitish government will reportedly seek a trust vote on the fourth day, while on the fifth and last day, the supplementary budget will be placed before the House.

The inaugural session will see a joint sitting of both the Houses.

Keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing is to be maintained in the seating arrangement and masks have been made mandatory, ANI reported.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is the largest party with 75 members, while the Mahagathbandhan has 110 seats. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 125 seats, including 74 members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

(With inputs from IANS, ANI and Hindustan Times.)

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