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'I feel ashamed,' Kiren Rijiju slams Congress for politicising Pro Tem Speaker issue
Photo courtesy: Facebook/Kiren Rijiju

'I feel ashamed,' Kiren Rijiju slams Congress for politicising Pro Tem Speaker issue

| @indiablooms | 21 Jun 2024, 09:21 pm

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have indulged in a war of words again and this time over the appointment of BJP leader and seven-time MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as Pro Tem Speaker, a post active only for the first days of a new Parliament.

The Pro Tem leader usually administers the oath to new MPs and conducts the election for a full-time Speaker.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to announce the new Speaker's name on Wednesday, two days after the first sitting of the newly elected 18th Lok Sabha.

Once the Speaker is elected - by a simple majority, meaning the BJP's pick is unlikely to fail - the Pro Tem's post ceases to exist.

The Congress, which was expecting Kodikunnil Suresh, a Dalit leader and an eight-time MP from Kerala, to be named Pro Tem, has slammed the BJP over the appointment of Mahtab.

Senior leader KC Venugopal called it "an attempt to destroy democratic and parliamentary norms..."

"Government should explain why it chose to overlook K Suresh... what was the factor that disqualified him? Are there deeper issues... perhaps beyond just seniority," he asked.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju hit back Friday, stating "I have to say it with great regret... I feel ashamed that the Congress talks like this. I was hoping that this Lok Sabha session would start with a good mood... and that we can have a productive and co-operative parliament meet."

"But what I have been seeing since yesterday, especially the issue that Congress has created regarding Pro Tem Speaker... Congress is doing so many wrong things it is trying to mislead people."

"Congress said we violated the rules while appointing Pro Tem Speaker. I want to tell you... whatever steps were taken to were done according to the rules...Congress should not do politics..."

Rijiju said tradition dictates the longest continuously-serving MP is appointed as Pro Tem, and that the choice is Bhartruhari Mahtab, who won Cuttack from 1998 to 2019 as part of ex-Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's BJD before jumping to the BJP this year to win a seventh consecutive term.

The names of Mahtab and D Purandeshwari, the chief of the BJP's Andhra Pradesh unit, were doing the rounds for the Speaker's post, which was also being eyed by allies Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar.

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