Parliament Adopts New Tradition with Sengol Procession Prior to President's Address
Parliament Adopts New Tradition with Sengol Procession Prior to President's Address

NEW DELHI: Making a new practice, President Droupadi Murmu made her entrance into the new Parliament Building accompanied by Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, along with an official carrying the 'Sengol', which the government has adopted as a cultural symbol.

Before President Murmu's arrival, Rajeev Sharma, a senior Marshal in the Lok Sabha, adorned in traditional attire complete with a decorated scarf and turban, ceremoniously carried the Sengol in a procession alongside Speaker Birla, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, and Secretaries General of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Utpal Kumar Singh and P C Mody, amidst the beat of drums.

President Murmu arrived at the new Parliament Building in a six-horse carriage, accompanied by her Presidential Bodyguards on horseback.

Vice President Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Lok Sabha Speaker Birla greeted her at the Gaja Dwar of the Parliament building, and together they proceeded to the Lok Sabha chamber in a procession led by the Sengol-bearer with utmost respect. A band played the 'Hathroi' tune as the president entered the Lok Sabha chamber, greeted by thunderous applause from the members of both houses. Cheers of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', 'Jai Shri Ram', 'Jai Siya Ram', and 'Jai Jagannath' filled the air as President Murmu took her seat.

The Sengol remained prominently displayed in front of the president's desk throughout her address and accompanied her until she exited the chamber after her speech. Later, the gold-plated sceptre was reverently placed next to the Speaker's chair.

As a security measure following an incident last December, the first-row chairs in the six viewing galleries of the Lok Sabha Chamber were removed.

Attendance for President Murmu's address was relatively low, with many empty seats visible in the vast Lok Sabha chamber, which can seat up to 888 persons.

During her 75-minute speech, President Murmu received frequent applause and desk-thumping from members of the ruling alliance. The loudest cheers erupted when she mentioned the passage of the women's reservation bill and the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

The chants of Jai Shri Ram and Jai Siya Ram echoed in the Lok Sabha chamber as President Murmu spoke of "Ram Lalla being enshrined in his grand temple in Ayodhya after centuries of waiting."

President Murmu quoted poetry from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and renowned Odia poet Utkalmani Gopalbandhu Das during her speech.

While ruling party members applauded President Murmu, opposition members mostly listened in silence, except for a few remarks, such as a "no reference to Manipur" comment from Congress member T N Prathapan.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Parliamentary Leader Sonia Gandhi were seated in the front row, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, and other prominent leaders.

Former Prime Ministers H D Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh's allotted seats remained vacant, with Gowda seen sitting in the last row.

BJP Rajya Sabha member Nagendra Ray, also known as Anant Maharaj, was dressed in the traditional attire of the Rajabongshi community of West Bengal.

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