BJP's Bhartruhari Mahtab sworn in as Lok Sabha pro tem Speaker

Bhartruhari Mahtab, a seven-term MP, was sworn in as the pro tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The Opposition has objected to the appointment, citing deviation from the traditional practice of selecting the most senior member of the Lower House for the role.
BJP's Bhartruhari Mahtab sworn in as Lok Sabha pro tem Speaker
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab was sworn in as the Lok Sabha pro tem Speaker on Monday, ahead of the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, despite strong objections from the Opposition.

President Droupadi Murmu administered the oath of office to Mahtab at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mahtab is set to preside over the Lok Sabha session, which begins today, and will oversee the oath-taking ceremony for newly elected MPs.

Mahtab will convene the Lok Sabha session at 11 am in Parliament House. He will first call upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Leader of the Lok Sabha, to take oath as member of the House.

The seven-time MP will then administer oath to the panel of chairpersons appointed by the President to assist him in carrying out the proceedings of the House till the election of the Speaker on June 26. After the panel of chairpersons, Mahtab will administer the oath as Lok Sabha members to the Council of Ministers.

The appointment of Mahtab has drawn criticism from the Opposition, particularly the Congress, which alleges that the government overlooked the claim of its member Kodikunnil Suresh, who has served eight terms in the Lok Sabha.

Suresh was expected to be appointed pro tem Speaker based on seniority, a convention historically followed in the Lok Sabha.

Congress leaders, including Jairam Ramesh and KC Venugopal, have accused the BJP-led government of violating parliamentary norms and politicising the appointment.

Ramesh stated that by convention, the MP who has served the maximum terms is appointed pro tem Speaker for the first two days when the oath is administered to all newly elected MPs.

The controversy has also been linked to Mahtab's recent switch from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju defended the appointment, asserting that Mahtab has had seven uninterrupted terms as a Lok Sabha member, making him eligible for the post. Meanwhile, Suresh’s electoral defeats in 1998 and 2004 mean that his current term is his fourth consecutive one in the Lower House.

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BJP's Bhartruhari Mahtab sworn in as Lok Sabha pro tem Speaker

The pro tem Speaker’s role is crucial during the initial days of a new Lok Sabha session, overseeing the swearing-in of newly elected members and facilitating the election of the Speaker. The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will continue until July 3, during which the new Speaker of the House will be elected.

Source: India Today

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