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Congress objects to choice of pro tem Speaker

Congress leader K C Venugopal accused the BJP-led government of attempting to “destroy parliamentary norms”….reports Asian Lite News

The Congress has targeted the ruling government for not following the largely established convention of appointing the seniormost member to the post. In response to the criticism, the BJP slammed Congress for politicising the appointment of Lok Sabha pro tem Speaker.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “By convention, the MP who has served the maximum terms is appointed Speaker pro tem for the first two days when oath is administered to all newly elected MPs.”

“The senior most MPs in the 18th Lok Sabha are Kodikunnil Suresh (INC) and Virendra Kumar (BJP), both of who are now serving their 8th term. The latter is now a Union Minister and hence it was expected that Kodikunnil Suresh would be the Speaker Protem. Instead, a 7-term MP, Bhartruhari Mahtab has been appointed Speaker pro tem. He was a BJD MP for 6 terms and is now a BJP MP,” Jairam Ramesh said.

Congress leader K C Venugopal accused the BJP-led government of attempting to “destroy parliamentary norms”.

“In yet another attempt at destroying parliamentary norms, Bhartruhari Mahtab, a seven-term MP, has been appointed the pro-tem Speaker, superseding Kodikunnil Suresh, who will be entering his eighth term,” K C Venugopal said in a post on X.

The BJP, in response, said the Congress should “relax” as the party had lost the Lok Sabha elections.

“You have just lost an election. Relax. Reflect on third consecutive defeat, instead of whining about everything,” BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted.

‘Congress should not do politics’

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.

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.

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