In an apparent goof-up, Republican Party of India (RPI) leader Ramdas Athawale on Tuesday forgot to take his name while taking oath as Minister of State.
He was then stopped and corrected by President Pranab Mukherjee. Athawale, a RS member from Maharashtra, started reading out the oath of office and secrecy, but without pronouncing his name. The President corrected him, saying, “Apna naam boliye. The RPI leader then said ‘Sorry, sorry’, took and completed his oath.
Ramdas Athawale, known for his comic sense, is a prominent dalit leader from Maharashtra whose induction into the Modi government is part of BJP’s endeavour to reach out to the politically crucial segment ahead of elections to five states including Uttar Pradesh.
Athawale, who heads the Republican Party of India (Athawale), an NDA ally, has been a trade unionist and is known more for his blunt remarks and popular laughter-evoking speeches in Parliament and outside. He has been part of NDA since 2011 after he quit the NCP-Congress alliance. He currently represents Maharashtra in the Rajya Sabha and has been a three-time Lok Sabha member.
The RPI(A) leader had last represented Mumbai North Central constituency in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009, having been first elected to the lower house in 1998. Athawale had been openly seeking a berth in the Union government for quite some time. His induction came at a time when BJP has laid claim to the legacy of dalit icon B R Ambedkar.