Parliament session to begin today amid pro-tem speaker row

The row over pro-tem speaker is likely to escalate on Monday as three Opposition MPs consider pulling out of the panel of chairpersons to assist Mahtab in carrying out the proceedings of the House till the election of the Speaker.
Parliament session to begin today amid pro-tem speaker row

NEW DELHI: AMID the row over appointment of seven-term member Bhartruhari Mahtab of the BJP as pro-tem speaker, the inaugural session of the 18th Lok Sabha is set to begin on a combative note on Monday.

The first day of the special Parliament session will see oath-taking by 280 newly elected MPs, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Council of Ministers. The remaining 264 parliamentarians including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will take oath on Tuesday. The focus will be shifted to the election of the Lok Sabha Speaker on June 26 and President Droupadi Murmu’s address to the joint sitting of both the Houses on June 27.

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The row over pro-tem speaker is likely to escalate on Monday as three Opposition MPs consider pulling out of the panel of chairpersons to assist Mahtab in carrying out the proceedings of the House till the election of the Speaker. Early this week, President Murmu appointed Mahtab as pro-tem speaker and nominated a panel of senior MPs including Congress’ Kodikunnil Suresh, DMK MP T R Baalu, TMC’s Sudip Bandyopadhyay, and BJP leaders Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste to assist Mahtab. Speaking to this newspaper, K Suresh said a final decision on boycotting the panel will be taken on Monday.

The Opposition is up in arms over Mahtab’s appointment. They allege the claim of K Suresh, an eighth-term MP, to the post was bypassed by the government. Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju says that Mahtab has had seven uninterrupted terms as a Lok Sabha member, making him eligible for the post and the Congress is trying to mislead people.

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The Opposition and the government are likely to lock horns over the election of the Speaker and deputy speaker posts. While the government remains secretive about its Speaker candidate, the Opposition stands firm on its claim to the deputy speaker post.

The debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, which begins on June 28, may also witness stormy scenes. The Opposition will try to pressure the government on various issues including NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams, new criminal laws, and the Kanchanjunga Express accident.

The PM is likely to respond to debate on July 2 or 3. Both Houses will go into a brief recess and re-assemble on July 22 for Budget.

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