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Bhartruhari Mahtab appointed protem speaker as per rules, Congress should not do politics: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju

Kiren Rijiju denied Congress allegation that govt violated the rules while appointing the protem speaker

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday said that the appointment of BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha, has been done as per the “rules”, adding that Congress should not politicise the issue.

Congress reacted sharply to the central government’s decision to appoint seven-term BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as Pro-tem Speaker of Lok Sabha over senior-most Dalit MP Kodikkunnil Suresh of Congress, saying that the appointment by the BJP deviates from the traditional practice of appointing the senior member.

The pro-tem Speaker administers the oath to newly elected members and oversees the proceedings of the House until the permanent Speaker is elected.

“We all want the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha to run peacefully. This is also the wish of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is a special session. There is no business transaction in this special session,” Rijiju said.

“But what I have been seeing since yesterday, especially the issue that the Congress party has created regarding the pro-tem Speaker and the Congress party is doing so many wrong things that it is trying to mislead people. First of all, the Congress party said that we have violated the rules while appointing the pro-tem Speaker. I want to tell you clearly that whatever steps have been taken to appoint the pro-tem Speaker have been done according to the rules…Congress should not do politics,” the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.

Earlier on Thursday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju announced that President Droupadi Murmu appointed BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as pro tem Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha.

“President is pleased to appoint Shri Bhartruhari Mahtab, Member, Lok Sabha, as Speaker Protem under Article 95(1) of the Constitution to perform the duties of Speaker till election of the Speaker,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said in a post on X on Thursday.

President Murmu also appointed Suresh Kodikunnil, Thalikkottai Rajuthevar Baalu, Radha Mohan Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Sudip Bandyopadhyay to assist the Speaker Protem in oath taking of the newly-elected members.

“President is also pleased to appoint Suresh Kodikunnil, Thalikkottai Rajuthevar Baalu, Radha Mohan Singh, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Sudip Bandyopadhyay, Members of Lok Sabha under Article 99 of the Constitution to assist Speaker Protem in Oath/Affirmation to newly elected Members of 18th Lok Sabha till election of the Speaker,” he added.

After the announcement, the Congress objected to the government’s decision, saying that the longest-serving MP is made pro tem Speaker but as per convention party MP Kodikunnil Suresh should have been given the role as he is entering his eighth term as parliamentarian.

“By convention, the MP who has served the maximum terms is appointed Speaker Protem for the first two days when oath is administered to all newly elected MPs. The seniormost MPs in the 18th Lok Sabha are Kodikunnil Suresh (INC) and Virendra Kumar (BJP), both of who are now serving their eighth term. The latter is now a Union Minister and hence it was expected that Kodikunnil Suresh would be the Speaker Protem. Instead, a seven-term MP, Bhartruhari Mahtab has been appointed Speaker Protem. He was a BJD MP for six terms and is now a BJP MP,” Ramesh said in a post on X.

Congress leader KC Venugopal said the government should explain why it overlooked K Suresh.

“In yet another attempt at destroying parliamentary norms, Mr Bhartruhari Mahtab (a 7-term MP) has been appointed the Pro-Tem Speaker, superseding Sh. @kodikunnilMP, who will be entering his 8th term. It is an unquestioned norm that the senior most MP presides over the proceedings of the House before the Speaker is duly elected. It is a matter of immense pride for our party that K Suresh, a leader from the marginalised section of society, has achieved this feat of being 8-term MP,” he said.

Congress MP Manickam Tagore also reacted sharply to the central government’s decision to appoint seven-term BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as Protem Speaker of Lok Sabha over senior-most Dalit MP Kodikkunnil Suresh of Congress and said that the decision was a mistake on the part of the government.

“First mistake as Parliamentary Affairs Minister: seven-term BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab chosen as Protem Speaker of Lok Sabha over senior-most Dalit MP Kodikkunnil Suresh of Congress. What are the minister’s intentions?” he asked in a post on X.

Congress MP Pramod Tiwari targeted the BJP, arguing that it amounts to insulting the entire House and democracy.

Pointing to the fact that the appointment disregards the traditional practice of selecting the senior most for the position, he stated that disregarding K Suresh, an eight-time MP, in favour of a seven-term MP, Bhartruhari Mahtab, for the 18th Lok Sabha pro-tem Speaker post is an insult to the entire House and the democratic process.

“What is the reason that a person who has been an MP for 8 times was not made the pro-tem Speaker and a person who has been an MP for 7 times was made the pro-tem Speaker? I believe that somewhere in this, an attempt has been made to bring dictatorship and in the name of democracy. This is an insult to the entire House, democracy,” Tiwari told ANI.

As per Article 94 of the Constitution, the office of the Speaker becomes vacant immediately before the first meeting of the new Lok Sabha. In that case, the duties of the Speaker are to be performed by a Member of the House appointed for this purpose by the President as Speaker pro tem.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will start on June 24. The Rajya Sabha session will begin on June 27.


(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

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