Newly elected Vice President and ex-officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha M. Venkaiah Naidu was welcomed in the Upper House on Friday with loud thumping of desks for several seconds.
However, as the opposition leaders congratulated Naidu for his new assignment, they reminded him in the same breath of the Chair’s neutrality.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, welcoming Naidu, observed that the Chair symbolises justice and neutrality.
“On the Chair that you are sitting today, it has the scales of justice carved on it, which reminds us that the Chair is impartial. While doing justice, you must neither have a religion nor any party affiliation,” Azad said.
He said it has been a tradition of the Upper House of Parliament that no bill is passed amid the din, till the House is in order, and hoped that the traditions of the House would be respected under the new Chairman.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury, too, observed that as Chairman, Naidu was sitting in the shade of two symbols — the Ashok Chakra that says Satyamev Jayate (truth prevails) and the scales of justice.
“Sir, you are the custodian of the Constitution. The sovereignty of people is supreme. The executive is accountable to us (Members of Parliament) and we, in return, are accountable to the public,” Yechury said.
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said that since Naidu loved to talk in rhymes and has popularized acronyms, he would like to greet him in his favoured style.
O’Brien recited 10 couplets and gave an acronym of his surname. NAIDU stands for Now All India’s Dearest Umpire, he said.
Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said that although it has been a tradition of the House to not pass a bill amid the din, it is not the responsibility of the Chair alone to maintain order in the House.
“It is also for those who create ruckus to think whether an issue is important enough to create a ruckus on,” Yadav said.