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Kiren Rijiju slams Congress for politicising pro-tem Speaker issue, calls Oppn's argument 'invalid'

Congress has accused the BJP-led government of 'destroying parliamentary norms' by ignoring the claim of Suresh, an eight-term Lok Sabha MP
Last Updated : 21 June 2024, 14:43 IST

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New Delhi: Citing previous incidences when the Protem Speaker was not the senior-most member of the House, union Parliamentary Affairs minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday alleged the Congress of “misleading” the country over the matter and said that he was “ashamed” of such “dirty” politics.

The Congress had alleged that the BJP had overlooked its MP Kodikunnil Suresh, an eight-term MP, for the position of Protem Speaker, and said that by doing so, the BJP was taking away the chance of a Dalit leader. In response, Rijiju said that before the President appointed seven-term member, BJP’s Bhatruhari Mahtab’s name, he spoke to the senior most members including Suresh, Sudip Bandopadhyay, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Radha Mohan Singh and TR Baalu.

“The government has not broken any rule, it is a tradition to elect the senior most MP with the maximum consecutive terms – Virendra Kumar and Mahtab both have seven consecutive terms, while K Suresh was not elected to the House in 2004 and 1998. The will not be run by pressure; it will be run by the Constitution,” Rijiju said.

Alleging that the Congress is misleading people on the issue of the Protem Speaker, he said that in 2004, Somnath Chatterjee was the seniormost (10 terms), but when he was a candidate for Speaker, the Protem Speaker position was given to Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil (8 terms). “George Fernandes then had 9 terms and AB Vajpayee had 10 terms. Why did the Congress not outrage then,” he said. It must be added that Vajpayee was then the outgoing prime minister and Fernandes was an outgoing minister.

He also gave the example of the Congress ignoring PM Sayeed and Giridhar Gamang for the Protem Speaker post, and also cited the Supreme Court order of 2018 that observed that the tradition of senior-most lawmakers being appointed as Protem Speaker was not legally binding. A handful other MPs apart from those the minister mentioned, including BJP’s Mansukhbhai Vasava and Ramesh Jigajinagi and DMK’s TR Baalu have seven terms each.

Rijiju said that the government intended to run the first session without any incident or conflict. “The politics that the Congress has done on the issue is dirty, and we are forced to speak after we were told that the party is planning to run a countrywide campaign on it,” he added.

The ministry also added that the government was also keen on a consensus on the Speaker’s post. “We will soon take steps (for election to Speaker’s post) … It is always good if there’s a consensus,” he added.

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Published 21 June 2024, 14:43 IST

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