New Delhi: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is known to be fluent in Tamil and English, stunned the Lok Sabha on Thursday when he addressed the house in Bhojpuri, receiving praise from Speaker Meira Kumar, who comes from Bihar, for his effort.

Chidambaram was replying to a calling attention motion on the need to include Bhojpuri, the native tongue of Bihar, in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution to accord it the official language status."Hum sabke bhawna samjhat bani (I understand the sentiments of all of you)," Chidambaram said during his reply to stunned silence from the members. But after a moment for it to sink in, the House erupted into surprised elation and thumping of desks by the members.

Chidambaram promised to expedite the process of considering the reports of two committees with regard to Bhojpuri and for a quick decision thereafter.

This brought in appreciation from Meira Kumar, who said it is a matter of great joy that Chidambaram, whom she has never heard even speak in Hindi, addressed the house in Bhojpuri.

Kumar expressed the hope that the Home Minister will return to the house soon with the "happy news" of Bhojpuri being accorded official language status.

Decision on Bhojpuri in Monsoon Session

"Good news" on the issue of including Bhojpuri in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution to give it official status would be announced in the next session, Home Minister P Chidambaram said in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

"We will consider the two reports (by Sitakant Mahapatra Committee and UPSC on the issue) expeditiously. We will be announcing a decision in the Monsoon Session," he said as members from all sides made a fervent plea for a speedy decision in the matter.

The announcement by Chidambaram came after a discussion on a Calling Attention motion on the issue, as several members belonging to BJP, SP, BSP, RJD, JD-U and some other parties, trooped into the Well, urging Speaker Meira Kumar, who has also been promoting the cause, to direct the government to announce a time-frame for a decision.

Initially, the Home Minister had said that it would be his endeavour to give the "good news" on the issue "as early as possible", and he even spoke a few words in Bhojpuri in an apparent message that he was sympathetic to their cause.

"I understand your feelings", he said in Bhojpuri written in English by Congress member Sanjay Nirupam, who was also in support of the inclusion. But this did not satisfy the agitated members, who wanted a firmer assurance.

The Minister made the statement after a hurried discussion with Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, all of whom were sitting in the front row of the Treasury Benches.

The Speaker said she was happy that the Home Minister "has not spoken in Hindi but in Bhojpuri, even though it is difficult for him to speak in Hindi. He has said he would take an expeditious decision and I hope that he would return (to the House) soon".


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