PM Modi, his ministers take oath as MPs, Opposition gears up for NEET fight

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha began with the oath-taking of the pro tem Speaker, followed by the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other newly elected MPs as members of the House.
PM Modi, his ministers take oath as MPs, Opposition gears up for NEET fight

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in as a Member of Parliament for the third time as the inaugural session of the 18th Lok Sabha kicked off on Monday, June 24. Newly elected MPs who are part of the Council of Ministers also took oath during the first sitting of Parliament since the Lok Sabha elections.

A resurgent Opposition is gearing up to challenge the NDA government on several fronts. Buoyed by its increased numbers, the Opposition is expected to be combative, focusing on issues such as alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG and NET exams, the relocation of statues within the Parliament building complex, and the government's decision to appoint seven-term BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro tem Speaker.

The 264th Session of the Rajya Sabha will also begin on June 27, and the joint session will conclude on July 3, resuming for the monsoon sitting on July 22.

The session began with President Droupadi Murmu administering the oath to BJP's Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro tem Speaker. Mahtab then called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take oath as a member of the House, followed by the oath-taking ceremony for other newly elected MPs.

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BJP's Bhartruhari Mahtab sworn in as Lok Sabha pro tem Speaker
PM Modi, his ministers take oath as MPs, Opposition gears up for NEET fight

The Opposition has slammed Mahtab's appointment, claiming that Congress's Kodikunnil Suresh, an eight-term Lok Sabha MP, was overlooked by the government. Opposition has accused the government of flouting conventions and disregarding Suresh's seniority.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju addressed concerns over the appointment, stating, "I met DMK Parliamentary Party leader TR Baalu. Everyone agrees that pro tem Speaker has never been an issue in the history of the Indian Parliament and the appointment of pro tem Speaker is basically to administer oath to the newly elected members and help in the election of the new Speaker."

Ahead of today's session, Rijiju welcomed the new lawmakers, stating, “The First Session of 18th Lok Sabha begins today, the 24th June, 2024. I welcome all the new elected hon'ble members. I shall be always available to assist the members as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. I'm positively looking forward for co-ordination to run the house.”

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh replied, “Actions will speak louder than words Mr. Minister. Walk the talk.”

MPs from the INDIA bloc have planned a symbolic protest by gathering near Gate No. 2 of the old Parliament building, where the statue of Mahatma Gandhi once stood. This statue, along with others, was relocated to a new area called Prerna Sthal. A senior opposition leader told news agency PTI that some MPs will hold copies of the Constitution of India and walk down to the Parliament building.

The Opposition is poised to address several contentious issues, especially the allegations paper leaks, cheating and corruption in the NEET-UG and NET exams. Congress is already on the attack, with party chief Mallikarjun Kharge alleging that the National Testing Agency was serving the "devious interests" of the BJP and RSS.

In response to the controversy, the government has removed the NTA chief and established an expert committee to recommend exam reforms.

Source: India Today

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