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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 July 2024

INDIA bloc MPs unlikely to accept role to assist pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab

The Opposition has been up in arms after the government made seven-time MP Mahtab the pro-tem Speaker instead of Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh, who has been a Lok Sabha member eight times, making him the senior-most in the current House

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 23.06.24, 06:41 AM
Bhartruhari Mahtab.

Bhartruhari Mahtab. File picture

Three INDIA bloc MPs, included in the panel of members designated to assist pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab in administering the oath of affirmation to the newly elected MPs, are unlikely to accept the role in protest against the government bypassing eight-time Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh for the post.

Sources in the Opposition said such a move was being considered, and a final decision would be taken on Monday morning.

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The three INDIA bloc MPs on the panel are Suresh, the DMK’s T.R. Baalu and Trinamool’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay. The others on the panel are the BJP’s Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Khulaste.

Members of the panel step in for the pro-tem Speaker during the oath of affirmation, which usually takes two days as each of the 543 MPs is administered the pledge individually.

The Opposition has been up in arms after the government made seven-time MP Mahtab the pro-tem Speaker instead of Suresh, who has been a Lok Sabha member eight times, making him the senior-most in the current House.

The convention has been to appoint the senior-most Lok Sabha member as the
pro-tem Speaker. The government contended that since there was a break in Suresh’s membership of the House owing to election defeats, Mahtab was the senior-most MP.

Apart from presiding over the oath of affirmation and the election of the Speaker, the pro-tem Speaker has no powers.

Yet the Opposition views the government’s decision as a continuation of the way the Modi government has functioned in the 16th and 17th Lok Sabhas, denying space to
opposing voices.

Since the Opposition is better positioned in numbers this time, it plans to dig in
its heels and fight for its due, including for the post of deputy Speaker, which remained vacant during the 17th Lok Sabha’s duration.

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