The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is insulting the Opposition by appointing Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha, said Congress MP K Suresh on Monday.

Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh (File Photo)

The politician said the INDIA bloc-led Opposition has decided to pull out its members from the panel of chairpersons who are supposed to assist Mahtab in running the House till the regular Speaker of the Lok Sabha is elected.

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K Suresh pointed out that Mahtab’s appointment as the temporary Speaker is against the established traditions of the House because he is the senior-most member of the Lok Sabha.

K Suresh said he has been a Member of Parliament (MP) eight times, whereas Mehtab has been elected 7 times.

“The NDA government has violated the convention of the Lok Sabha. So far, the convention was that the MP who was elected for a maximum number of times will be the pro-tem Speaker… Bhartruhari Mahtab is a 7-time MP. However, I am an 8-time MP. They are insulting the Opposition again. That’s why the INDIA alliance has unanimously decided to boycott the panel,” he told ANI.

Also read: Pro-tem Speaker row likely to become first NDA-INDIA bloc flashpoint in Lok Sabha today

The pro-tem row will likely become the first flashpoint between the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Opposition’s INDIA bloc today, in the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha.

Mahtab, a seven-term Lok Sabha member from Cuttack, was appointed by President Droupadi Murmu as the pro-tem Speaker. Kodikunnil Suresh (Congress), T R Baalu (DMK), Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste (both BJP) were named as the members of the panel.

However, the Opposition has decided to boycott the panel.

The government claims Mehtab has had uninterrupted seven terms in the Lok Sabha whereas Suresh has been a Lok Sabha member for four successive terms.

The Congress on Sunday claimed Suresh was ignored for the temporary post because he belongs to the Dalit community.

Reacting to the remark, the BJP said the party should appoint K Suresh as the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha.