First session of 18th Lok Sabha commences; PM Modi calls for responsible opposition

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses at the parliament complex ahead of first session of Lok Sabha. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha commenced at 11 am with the oath-taking by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The oath-taking of ministers and MPs is underway. 

PM Modi, addressing the media on Monday, said that the people of the country expect good steps from the opposition that maintain the dignity of the democracy. Taking a dig at the opposition, he added that people do not want drama and disturbance, they want substance, not slogans. “The country needs a good opposition, a responsible opposition and I have full faith that the MPs who have won in this 18th Lok Sabha will try to fulfill these expectations of the common man,” added the PM. He made the statement when the opposition MPs were holding a 'Save Constitution' march to the parliament.

Ahead of the session, President Droupadi Murmu administered the oath to Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Later, Mahtab headed to the Parliament House and called the Lok Sabha to order at 11 am. The proceedings commenced with members observing a moment of silence. Later, Lok Sabha Secretary General Utpal Kumar Singh placed the list of the new members on the table of the House.

Mahtab called upon PM Narendra Modi, the Leader of the Lok Sabha, to take oath as a member of the House. Though pro-tem speaker administered oath to the panel of chairpersons appointed by the President to assist him in carrying out the proceedings of the House till the election of the Speaker on June 26, opposition members including Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh refused to assist him.

parliament house . Photo: PTI

The President has appointed Kodikunnil Suresh (Congress), T R Baalu (DMK), Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste (both BJP) and Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC) to assist Mahtab in administering the oath/affirmation to the newly elected members of the Lok Sabha.

After the panel of chairpersons, the pro-tem speaker  administered the oath/affirmation as Lok Sabha members to the Council of Ministers. The members from states, in alphabetical order, will take oath or make affirmation over the next two days.

The election of the Lok Sabha Speaker will be held on June 26 and President Droupadi Murmu will address the joint sitting of both the Houses on June 27. The debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address will begin on June 28. The prime minister is expected to respond to the debate on July 2 or 3. Both the Houses are expected to go into a brief recess and re-assemble on July 22 for the presentation of the Union Budget.

Pro tem speaker row
The row over appointment of BJP leader and seven-term member Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem speaker is likely to cast shadow over the session. The move has drawn flak from the opposition, which alleged that the claim of Congress member Kodikunnil Suresh to the post was overlooked by the government. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju asserted that Mahtab has had seven uninterrupted terms as Lok Sabha member, making him eligible for the post, while Suresh lost elections in 1998 and 2004 which makes his current term as the fourth straight one in the lower house. Earlier, he was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989, 1991, 1996 and 1999.

Save Constitution March
The opposition MPs will gather near Gate No 2 of the old Parliament building, where the Gandhi statue once stood, a senior opposition party leader said. The Gandhi statue, which was a popular protest site for MPs in the Parliament complex, was recently relocated along with 14 other statues that dotted the complex. All these were installed in one area, Prerna Sthal.
The politician said some MPs will hold copies of the Constitution of India and they will all walk down to the Parliament building.

Several opposition parties have claimed that the mandate of 2024 Lok Sabha elections was against the ruling BJP, even though it was able to form government with support of NDA allies. The bloc has also claimed that people backed the opposition parties to "save Constitution."

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