Amid stiff opposition, BJP’s B Mahtab takes oath as pro-tem speaker of new Lok Sabha

On Wednesday, 26 June, he will preside over the House when a new Speaker will be elected.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 24, 2024 | 11:17 AM Updated Jun 24, 2024 | 11:17 AM

Pro-tem Lok Sabha speaker B Mahtab

President Droupadi Murmu on Monday, 24 June, administered oath to BJP member B Mahtab as “speaker pro-tem” of the newly-constituted 18th Lok Sabha.

A seven-time MP, Mahtab, along with a panel of chairpersons is tasked with running the proceedings of the Lok Sabha on Monday and Tuesday,25 June, when winning candidates will take oath as members of the 18th Lok Sabha.

However, the appointment of B Mahtab as the Pro-Tem speaker was opposed by the Opposition, as it went against the convention of appointing senior most MP in the Lok Sabha, as the pro-tem Speaker.

Congress’ K Suresh is the senior most MP with eight terms.

On Wednesday, 26 June, he will preside over the House when a new Speaker will be elected.

Mahtab along with the panel of chairpersons was appointed by the president on 20 June.

The President has appointed Kodikunnil Suresh (Congress), TR Baalu (DMK), Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste (both BJP) and Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC) to assist Mahtab in administering the oath/affirmation to the newly elected members of the Lok Sabha.

After the panel of chairpersons, the pro-tem speaker will administer the oath/affirmation as Lok Sabha members to the Council of Ministers. The members from states, in alphabetical order, will take oath or make affirmation over the next two days.

Row over Mahtab as pro-tem speaker

On Friday, 21 June, Suresh, an eight-term MP, said that being the most senior Lok Sabha member, he ought to have been made the pro-tem Speaker as per convention.

The same was reiterated by other senior Congress leaders— including Leader of Opposition in the state assembly VD Satheesan and Ramesh Chennithala— in the southern state.

Suresh had also criticised the Centre’s decision by saying that it amounts to threatening parliamentary democracy in the country and indicates that the BJP will continue to bypass parliamentary procedures or use them for its own interests, as it did the last two times.

Vijayan, who too criticised the Centre’s decision, had also questioned as to what was the BJP’s answer to those who suspect that Suresh, the Congress MP from Mavelikara constituency, was not considered for the post due to the “upper caste politics” followed by the Sangh Parivar.

Hitting back, BJP Kerala chief K Surendran said that the Congress should protest against the Centre’s decision by making Suresh the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

He also termed the Congress MP from Mavelikara constituency as “brilliant”, a member of the Dalit community and a member from Kerala— “the family home of Rahul (Gandhi) and Priyanka (Gandhi) today and tomorrow Vadra’s”.

“At any rate, this man (Suresh) should be made the leader of the opposition. This is how the Congress party should express its protest against him not being made a pro-tem Speaker for two days,” Surendran said, in an X post, taking a dig at the grand old party.

Also Read: ‘Why wasn’t most senior MP Kodikunnil Suresh not made Pro-tem speaker?’ Kerala CM Vijayan questions BJP

(With PTI inputs)

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