Congress accuses violation of norms as Bhartruhari Mahtab named pro-tem Speaker.

Congress accuses government of violating parliamentary norms by choosing BJP MP Mahtab instead of senior MP Suresh for pro-tem Speaker.

June 20th 2024.

Congress accuses violation of norms as Bhartruhari Mahtab named pro-tem Speaker.
In a recent development, the Congress party has accused the government of disregarding parliamentary traditions by appointing seven-term BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha. According to the party, this position should have been given to the senior-most MP, eight-term Lok Sabha member Kodikunnil Suresh, as per the usual convention.

The appointment of Mahtab, a BJP member from Cuttack, was announced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday. He stated that President Droupadi Murmu had appointed Mahtab as pro-tem Speaker under Article 95 of the Constitution. This role requires him to perform the duties of the Lok Sabha presiding officer until a Speaker is elected.

However, the Congress has raised concerns about this decision. General Secretary Jairam Ramesh pointed out that the MP who has served the maximum number of terms is typically chosen as the Speaker Protem for the first two days when newly elected MPs take their oath. In this case, both Kodikunnil Suresh and Virendra Kumar have served eight terms, making them the senior-most MPs in the 18th Lok Sabha. Ramesh believes that Suresh should have been given the opportunity, instead of Mahtab, who has only served for seven terms and recently switched from the BJD party to BJP.

Another Congress leader, Manickam Tagore, took to social media to express his disappointment with the decision. He criticized Minister Rijiju for choosing Mahtab over Suresh, who happens to be a Dalit leader. He questioned the minister's intentions and used hashtags like "Biased Decisions" and "Protem Speaker" to highlight his concerns.

K C Venugopal, the party's general secretary in-charge of organization, also criticized the government's decision. He accused them of trying to destroy parliamentary norms by appointing Mahtab, a seven-term MP, instead of Suresh, who is about to enter his eighth term. He believes that Suresh's achievement of being an eight-term MP, especially as a leader from a marginalized community, should have been acknowledged and respected.

The government has not yet provided any explanation for their decision. The newly elected members of the 18th Lok Sabha are scheduled to take their oath or affirmation before the pro-tem Speaker, who will be assisted by a panel of chairpersons. This panel includes Congress leader Kodikunnil Suresh, DMK leader TR Baalu, BJP members Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste, and TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

It is worth noting that Mahtab left his previous party, BJD, before the Lok Sabha elections and joined BJP. The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha is set to begin on June 24, during which the newly elected members will take their oath or affirmation. The election of the Speaker is scheduled for June 26.

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