Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday interacted with the newly-elected BJP Rajya Sabha members, offering them advice on connecting with the people, ahead of their term in parliament.

Out of BJP’s 18 new Rajya Sabha members, 17 took oath on Wednesday. One had already taken oath.

45 newly-elected members, including 36 first-timers, took the oath of office in the Rajya Sabha chamber while following physical distancing norms on Wednesday. In total, 61 members have been elected to the House of which 43 are first-timers.

Twelve sitting Rajya Sabha members who have been re-elected, including Sharad Pawar, Harivansh, Ramdas Athawale, Digvijay Singh, Bhubaneswar Kalita, Prem Chand Gupta and Biswajit Daimary, also took oath.

BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia and Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge are among the first-time members of the House who took oath. Scindia, who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh, greeted his arch-rival Digvijay Singh, and Kharge before his oath-taking.

After the oath-taking ceremony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met 18 BJP Rajya Sabha MPs while maintaining social distancing.

The Prime Minister urged them not just to be limited to the upper house but also be active in the field.

“Urged MPs to keep themselves updated with latest policy issues. Also emphasised on being effective on the floor of the House as well as in the field, among people,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

He further stressed the need for constantly connecting with the people by embracing the latest technology as well as social media as means to do so.

PM called it an “excellent interaction” where he heard them and appreciated their “passion towards public service”.

“This is a group of MPs who are diverse and will certainly make effective contributions to Parliamentary proceedings,” he said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP President JP Nadda were also present during the interaction.

Earlier, after the swearing-in ceremony, Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who administered the oath, urged the MPs not to fall prey to the temptation of disrupting the proceedings of the House for “short-term gains”.

The chairman suggested the members to question themselves if they had acted to enhance the dignity of the institution at the end of each day during the session and whether their conduct was ethical during the inter-session period. “Answers to these simple questions would guide you on the right path,” he said.

“Ensuring rule of law is the spirit of our law of the land (Constitution). It shall begin with your compliance with the rules and procedures of this House,” Naidu said.

He said as lawmakers for the nation, the MPs should ensure that their conduct in the House is in conformity with the rules and precedents. “Time well spent is a life well lived. While the House is in session be in the House and be with the people during the inter-session period,” the chairman said.

Naidu suggested the first-time members of the Rajya Sabha to enhance their knowledge about the history and contribution of the House during the last 68 years by reading standard books.

Among the members who took oath are Priyanka Chaturvedi and Rajeev Satav from Maharashtra; Sumer Singh Solanki from Madhya Pradesh; Nabam Rebia from Arunachal Pradesh; Biswajit Daimary from Assam; Vivek Thakur from Bihar; Shaktisinh Gohil, Abhay Bharadwaj, Ramilaben Bara and Narhari Amin from Gujarat.

Deepinder Singh Hooda and Ram Chander Jangra from Haryana; Indu Goswami from Himachal Pradesh; Deepak Prakash from Jharkhand; Ashok Gasti and Iranna Kadadi from Karnataka; Udayanraje Bhosale and Bhagwat Karad from Maharashtra; Leishemba Sanajaoba from Manipur; K Vanlalvena from Mizoram; and Rajendra Gehlot from Rajasthan, besides Ayodhya Rami Reddy Alla, Pilli Subhaschandra Bose and Venkataramana Rao Mopidevi from Andhra Pradesh also took oath.