INDIA bloc to decide on pro-tem Speaker panel after meet, says Suresh

Suresh is also part of the panel appointed by the President to assist Mahtab in administering the oath of affirmation to the newly elected MPs.
INDIA bloc to decide on pro-tem Speaker panel after meet, says Suresh

NEW DELHI: Amid an escalating row over the appointment of Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker, senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Kodikunnil Suresh on Sunday said that a meeting of the INDIA bloc leaders will decide whether to pull out from the panel to assist Mahtab or not.

Suresh is also part of the panel appointed by the President to assist Mahtab in administering the oath of affirmation to the newly elected MPs.

The Opposition is considering to boycott the panel to protest against the Centre’s alleged violation of procedures and conventions, bypassing Suresh, an eight-term member, while making the appointment.

Speaking to this newspaper, Suresh said that though suggestions have come up not to join the panel of chairpersons to assist Mahtab, a final decision will be taken before the beginning of the session. “A final decision will be taken today or tomorrow,” said Suresh.

Early this week, President Droupadi Murmu appointed Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker. Murmu also nominated a panel of senior MPs comprising Suresh, DMK MP TR Baalu, TMC’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay, and BJP leaders Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste to assist Mahtab.

Suresh said that the government violated conventions by appointing Mahtab. “The parliamentary affairs minister argues that I didn’t have eight uninterrupted terms as an LS MP. But Mahtab served as a BJD MP for six terms and became a BJP MP for the first time now. How can a person who jumped ship administer an oath to the newly elected MPs?” he said.

“That was a lame excuse. Even if I had won eight times in a row, they would have come up with other reasons,” he said.

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