Bhartruhari Mahtab became the Protem Speaker for the 18th Lok Sabha, Congress opposed

Ananya Shroff
4 Min Read

New Delhi: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said that seven-time MP Bhartruhari Mahtab was appointed as the Protem Speaker of the Lok Sabha on Thursday. Mahtab, a BJP MP from Cuttack, has been appointed as the Protem Speaker by President Draupadi Murmu under Article 95 (1) of the Constitution to discharge his duties as the presiding officer till the election of the Lok Sabha Speaker. The newly elected members of the 18th Lok Sabha will take oath before the Protem Speaker.

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A panel of these leaders was formed to assist the Protem Speaker
Rijiju said the pro tem speaker will be assisted by a panel of presiding officers comprising Congress leader K Suresh, DMK leader TR Baalu, BJP's Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste and Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay. Mahtab had quit the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to join the BJP.

Congress opposed the appointment of Mehtab as Protem Speaker
Congress has opposed the appointment of Bhartruhari Mahtab as the Protem Speaker. Congress said that the appointment of BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the temporary Speaker of the Lok Sabha in place of eight-time MP Kodikunnil Suresh is another attempt to destroy parliamentary decorum. Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that Suresh should have been appointed as the temporary Speaker as he is an eight-time MP, while Mahtab is a seven-time MP.

'An attempt to destroy parliamentary norms'
Congress party general secretary KC Venugopal posted on Twitter: “In yet another attempt to subvert parliamentary norms, Bhartruhari Mahtab (seven-time MP) has been appointed as the Pro Tem Speaker of Lok Sabha, replacing Kodikunnil Suresh. Suresh will begin his eighth term as MP.” “It is an undisputed norm that the proceedings of the House are presided over by the senior-most MP before the Speaker is duly elected. It is a matter of great pride for our party that K Suresh, a leader of the marginalised sections of society, has achieved this feat of becoming an eight-time MP,” he said.

'Why did the government ignore K. Suresh?'
Ramesh said the government should explain why it overlooked K Suresh, what was the reason for disqualifying him from the post? Are there deeper issues influencing this decision, perhaps beyond mere merit and seniority? According to tradition, the longest-serving MP is appointed the pro tem speaker for the first two days when all the newly elected MPs take oath.

He also said, 'The most senior MPs in the 18th Lok Sabha are Kodikunnil Suresh (Congress) and Virendra Kumar (BJP), both of whom are now completing their eighth term. Kumar is now a Union minister and so it was expected that Kodikunnil Suresh would be the Protem Speaker. In his place, seven-time MP Bhartruhari Mahtab has been appointed as the Protem Speaker. He was a six-time Biju Janata Dal MP and is now a BJP MP. The first session of the eighteenth Lok Sabha will begin on June 24. The newly elected members will take oath on June 24-25. The election of the Lok Sabha Speaker is to be held on June 26.

(With agency inputs)

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