Congess Finds Fault in Pro-tem Speaker Appointment

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Congress Finds Fault in Pro-tem Speaker Appointment

| Updated: June 21, 2024 09:18

The recent appointment of Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha has ignited a heated debate. Traditionally, the senior-most member of the parliament assumes this crucial role, but Mahtab’s selection deviated from this convention, drawing sharp criticism from the opposition Congress.

Bhartruhari Mahtab, born on September 8, 1957, in Agarpada, Odisha, is a seven-term MP. His journey began in 1998 when he was elected to the 12th Lok Sabha from the Cuttack constituency in Odisha. Since then, he has consistently represented the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party, securing re-election in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019 from the same seat. Son of former Odisha Chief Minister Hareskrushna Mahtab, Bhartuhari joined the BJP ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and won once again.

As pro-tem Speaker, Mahtab will administer oaths to new members of the 18th Lok Sabha and preside over the Lower House until the Speaker election. However, the Congress argues that their eight-term MP, Kodikunnil Suresh, was overlooked in favour of Mahtab, a seven-term BJP MP.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that the decision raises questions about parliamentary norms and fairness. Congress accuses the BJP of undermining established norms. However, there has been historical precedents showing deviations from the tradition of seniority in appointing pro-tem Speakers.

As the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha is approaching, the fireworks between two principal parties of India is expected to intensify if the heated exchange over the choice of pro-tem speaker is any indication. The controversy surrounding Mahtab’s appointment highlights the need for a consensus to maintain the integrity of our parliamentary processes.

As the pro-tem Speaker takes on a critical role during the initial sessions of the Lok Sabha, it remains to be seen how this deviation from tradition will impact the functioning of the House and the trust of its members. The debate continues, with both sides presenting their arguments, emphasizing the importance of upholding democratic principles in our legislative institutions.

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