Political Pickle

Why Kishan Reddy said `Bharat Mata ki Jai’

On 30 May after he got a call that he was to be sworn in as minister in the Narendra Modi government, G Kishan Reddy, the newly elected MP from Secunderabad was in a quandary whether to take his oath in English, Hindi or Telugu. Not most comfortable in English, he preferred Telugu. BJP president Amit Shah told Reddy that there was nothing wrong in taking the oath in his mother tongue. 

Reddy reportedly consulted M Venkaiah Naidu on what he should do. The Vice President of India was Reddy’s mentor during his days in the BJP and is someone he respects a great deal. Sources say Naidu advised Reddy to take the oath in Hindi since President Ram Nath Kovind is not conversant with Telugu. 

At 3 pm, Kishan Reddy practised the formal language of the oath in Hindi. Yet when it most mattered, at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, he fumbled and President Kovind, a stickler for saying every word right, ensured Reddy corrected himself. 

That’s when Kishan Reddy surprised everyone present by saying `Bharat Mata ki Jai’ immediately after the oath. He was to tell his aides later that it was an impulsive decision. But it ensured people in the audience and those watching the event on TV, remembered the slogan instead of the President correcting him.

Though many wondered if Kishan Reddy had done the right thing since it was a formal and ceremonial occasion, he disclosed that his decision to hail the motherland had come in for praise from other BJP ministers, some of who reportedly regretted not having thought of it themselves. That leaders of the RSS also approved of what Reddy did, was the icing on the cake for the first-time minister. 

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