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Out of 23 desi MPs to swear in, 3 choose Bhagavad Gita, one picks Sundar Gutka, five opt for Bible – Times of India


LONDON: Of the 23 PIO MPs out of 29 sworn into the new British Parliament thus far, five, including former home secretary Priit Patel, have chosen to swear an oath on the Holy Bible, three chose the Bhagavad Gita and one chose the Sundar Gutka.
Seven Sikh Labour MPs said they wished to swear their oath to God but without holding the Sundar Gutka, and seven PIO MPs, including two Punjabi-origin MPs, chose to affirm and not swear any oath to God.
Jasveer Singh, spokespersonfor the Sikh Press Association, said: “It is against the Sikh faith to swear on our scripture in this way. Also we don’t view Guru Granth Sahib Ji as a book. It is our scriptural Guru. The Gutka is a condensed mini-compilation of the Sikh scripture.”
Bob Blackman MP, a Tory MP who has just been elected chair of the 1922 committee and represents Harrow East, which has a huge Indian diaspora, and who was awarded the Padma Shri, swore in on the King James Bible and the Bhagavad Gita at the same time.
MPs started taking the oath on Tuesday after Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle was re-elected.
When they do they can either take an oath on a holy book or they can make a secular affirmation. The oath is: “I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law, so Help me God.”
The affirmation is: “I do solemnly and sincerely and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law.
Two new MPs — Bihar-born Labour MP Kanishka Narayan and Conservative Leicester East MP Shivani Raja — as well as opposition leader Rishi Sunak took their oaths on the Bhagavad Gita.
New Conservative MP Neil Shashti-Hunt and new Labour MPs Jeevun Sandher, Sonia Kumar, and Sureena Brackenridge, all chose to affirm and not take the oath, as did re-elected MPs Conservative Gagan Mohindra and Labour’s Seema Malhotra, and culture secretary Lisa Nandy.
Labour Sikh MP Preet Kaur Gill swore on a copy of the Sundar Gutka, but another seven Labour Sikh MPs refused to hold the Sikh text and instead raised their right hand and swore the oath. Newly elected Ilford South Labour MP Jas Athwal, said: “I do have a preferred book but I am not going to hold it. I am just going to raise my hand.” When Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi did this it really confused the House of Commons staff as they thought he wanted to make the affirmation. Derby South Labour MP Baggy Shanker swore the oath without a book and without raising his hand. Labour Sikh MPs Gurinder Singh Josan, Kirith Entwistle, Harpreet Uppal, Satvir Kaur, and Warinder Singh Juss all held their right hands raised and swore the oath without a holy book.
Tory Witham MP Priit Patel, shadow energy secretary Claire Coutinho, and Munira Wilson, Twickenham Liberal Democrat MP, took oaths on the King James Bible. The first Kerala-origin MP in the House of Commons, Sojan Joseph, swore on an oath on the New Testament. Labour MP Valerie Vaz, also of Goan Christian descent, swore on the Jerusalem Bible.

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