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Pro-Tem Speaker sworn iIn, Parliament session begins


mangaloretoday.com

New Delhi, June 24, 2024: The first session of Parliament after the Lok Sabha elections began today, with the newly-elected MPs - including Prime Minister Narendra Modi - taking oath.

BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab was first administered the oath as the Pro-Tem Speaker by President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He will now call upon the Prime Minister to take oath as member of the House. About 280 newly-elected MPs will take oath today, while the remaining 260 parliamentarians, including Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, will take oath tomorrow.


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Ahead of the key Parliament session, PM Modi hit out at the Congress and called the Emergency a "blot" on democracy. "The Opposition has disappointed so far, but I hope it will do justice to its role Parliament. People want substance not slogans, they want debate, diligence not disturbance," he said.

The row over the appointment of seven-time MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the Pro-Tem Speaker is likely to escalate. The post of Pro Tem Speaker - a temporary one -- traditionally goes to the senior most member of parliament.

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

The Lok Sabha Speaker will be elected on June 26. Until a new Speaker is elected, the Pro-Tem Speaker presides over the first few sessions of the Lok Sabha and conducts the election for the new Speaker and Deputy 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 Opposition is also expected to raise the alleged irregularities in competitive exams NEET and NET. Amid an escalating row, the Centre on Saturday replaced National Testing Agency Director General Subodh Singh and set up a seven-member panel to review the agency’s functioning and recommend exam reforms.

The government has also operationalised a stringent law that aims to curb malpractices and irregularities in competitive examinations. A maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to ₹ 1 crore for offenders are some of the tough measures under the law.

The Congress last week held protests across the country over the exam fiasco, demanding the resignation of Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said he will raise the issue in parliament and the opposition will put pressure on the government to ensure justice for students.

President Droupadi Murmu will address a joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on June 27. She may outline the new government’s roadmap for the next five years. This session will conclude on July 3.


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