Congress Slams BJP For Ignoring Seniority In Lok Sabha Pro-Tem Speaker Appointment

Congress Slams BJP For Ignoring Seniority In Lok Sabha Pro-Tem Speaker Appointment

In their response, the BJP leaders pointed out that “the Pro-Tem Speaker's choice flows from the 'Father of the House' convention in the Westminster system” under which the tenure is considered on the basis of continuity.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Sunday, June 23, 2024, 03:05 PM IST
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The new parliament building | X

New Delhi: Peeved at senior eight-term Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh not being given the role of Pro Tem Speaker, which as per convention goes to the most senior LS MP, the INDIA bloc is likely to not let three of its MPs – Suresh, DMK’s T.R. Baalu and TMC’s Sudip Bandopadhyay – assist the Pro-Tem Speaker in administering oaths to the newly elected MPs.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha begins on June 24 and the oath will be administered over the first two days. On June 20, the President announced the name of BJP’s newly elected MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the Pro-Tem Speaker. The names of five other MPs were also announced in the panel of chairpersons and these also included Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste of the BJP.

While for the past two days, there has been a buzz that Suresh would opt out of the proceedings in protest, the two other Opposition members on the panel are now also likely to follow suit.

Opposition Attacks The BJP

Since the announcement, the Opposition has attacked the BJP for not following the convention of having the most senior MP as the Pro-Tem Speaker.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had posted on “X”: “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.”

He had noted that both Suresh and Virendra Kumar of BJP are now serving their eighth term but since Kumar had been made a minister, Suresh should have been chosen.

However, Ramesh complained that “Instead, a 7-term MP, Bhartruhari Mahtab has been appointed Speaker Protem. He was a BJD MP for 6 terms and is now a BJP MP." Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal termed the development “yet another attempt at destroying parliamentary norms”.

In their response, the BJP leaders pointed out that “the Pro-Tem Speaker's choice flows from the 'Father of the House' convention in the Westminster system” under which the tenure is considered on the basis of continuity.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju Defends The Decision

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju defended the decision saying while Mahtab’s term was uninterrupted since 1998, Suresh’s was “non-consecutive” as he lost in 1998 and 2004.

BJP’s National Information and Technology Department in-charge Amit Malviya further said "With 98 seats, it is not for the Congress to decide who the Pro-Tem Speaker should be and suggested that the party should pick Suresh as the LoP since “Rahul Gandhi is not up for it."

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