Bhutanese MPs break tradition, clap for Modi

Last Updated 16 June 2014, 19:39 IST

Bhutan on Monday saw a deviation in its tradition of not clapping to express appreciation as its MPs broke into a round of cheers when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended his extempore address in Hindi to a joint sitting of the Parliament here.

In Bhutan, clapping is done to ward off evil spirits and not as a welcome gesture. 

The gathering, which included Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and members of the National Assembly and the National Council, however, cheered to applaud Modi.

The joint sessions are held in the chamber of the National Assembly (lower house), attended by members from the National Council (upper house). Though Modi carried a prepared text, he delivered his 45-minute address in Hindi which the dignitaries listened in rapt attention.

Machines were at hand to translate his speech in which he shared his thoughts on India-Bhutan relations. 

At the joint session, ministers of the Bhutan government were seen wearing an orange robe over their traditional dress, the MPs, 47 from the National Assembly and 25 from the National Council — were wearing blue robes. Modi also shared his sentiments at the effusive reception he received not only from the Bhutan government but also the local people.

“Touched by the welcome song sung by primary school students during the luncheon hosted by His Majesty the King of Bhutan,” he said in a tweet which also shared its lines, which wished him and Indo-Bhutanese ties success.  

During his address, Modi showered praise on Bhutan’s democracy and how decentralisation of power was done. 

He also mentioned a rule in Bhutan Parliament under which if a member speaks for more than five minutes, the speech will not get recorded. This, he said, is worth learning.

Talking about democracy in Bhutan, Modi said the country is “an example of decentralisation of power at a time when there is a tendency world over to concentrate power”. 

(Published 16 June 2014, 19:39 IST)

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