By convention, eight-term MP Kodikunnil Suresh should have been Lok Sabha pro-tem Speaker: Congress

Congress leader K C Venugopal said called it 'another attempt at destroying parliamentary norms' and said Mahtab, a seven-term MP, has been appointed the pro-tem Speaker, superseding Kodikunnil Suresh, who will be entering his eighth term.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 17:55 IST

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New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday accused the government of "destroying parliamentary norms" by choosing seven-term BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as pro-tem Speaker instead of eight-term Lok Sabha member Kodikunnil Suresh who, it said, should have got it as per the convention of naming the senior-most MP to the post.

Mahtab was on Thursday appointed pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said.

He said Mahtab, a BJP member from Cuttack, was appointed as pro-tem Speaker by President Droupadi Murmu under Article 95(1) of the Constitution to perform the duties of the Lok Sabha presiding officer till the election of the Speaker.

Reacting to the development, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "By convention, the MP who has served the maximum terms is appointed Speaker Protem for the first two days when the oath is administered to all newly elected MPs." "The senior-most MPs in the 18th Lok Sabha are Kodikunnil Suresh (INC) and Virendra Kumar (BJP), both of who are now serving their eighth term.

"The latter is now a Union minister and hence it was expected that Kodikunnil Suresh would be the Speaker Protem. Instead, a seven-term MP, Bhartruhari Mahtab has been appointed Speaker Pro-tem. He was a BJD MP for six terms and is now a BJP MP," Ramesh said on 'X'.

Congress leader Manickam Tagore, in a post on 'X', said, "First mistake as Parliamentary Affairs Minister: 7-term BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab chosen as Protem Speaker of Lok Sabha over senior-most Dalit MP Kodikkunnil Suresh of Congress." "What are the minister's intentions?," he added with hashtags 'Biased Decisions' and 'Protem Speaker'.

Congress general secretary, in-charge organization, K C Venugopal said, "In yet another attempt at destroying parliamentary norms, Bhartruhari Mahtab, a seven-term MP, has been appointed the pro-tem Speaker, superseding Kodikunnil Suresh, who will be entering his eighth term."

"It is an unquestioned norm that the senior-most MP presides over the proceedings of the House before the Speaker is duly elected. It is a matter of immense pride for our party that K Suresh, a leader from the marginalised section of society, has achieved this feat of being an eight-term MP," he said on X.

"The government should explain why it chose to overlook K Suresh, what was the factor that disqualified him from this post? Are there deeper issues influencing this decision, perhaps beyond just merit and seniority?" Venugopal added.

The newly elected members of the 18th Lok Sabha will take oath or affirmation before the pro-tem Speaker, who will be assisted by a panel of chairpersons comprising Congress leader Suresh, DMK leader T R Baalu, BJP members Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste and TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

Mahtab quit the BJD ahead of the Lok Sabha elections to join the BJP.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will begin on June 24. The newly elected members will take oath/affirmation on June 24-25. The election of the Speaker is scheduled to take place on June 26.

Published 20 June 2024, 17:55 IST

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