Three Oppn MPs on panel to assist pro tem Speaker considering to quit

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Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Interim Budget 2024 in the Lok Sabha, at Parliament House in New Delhi

New Delhi: Opposition leaders nominated to the panel of chairpersons to assist the pro tem Speaker are considering not accepting the positions, a source said on Saturday.

The development comes amid opposition parties objecting to the appointment of Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro tem Speaker.

Mahtab, a BJP member from Cuttack, Odisha was appointed as pro tem Speaker by President Droupadi Murmu under Article 95(1) of the Constitution to perform the duties of the Lok Sabha presiding officer till the election of the Speaker on June 26.

A panel of chairpersons was also announced to assist the pro tem Speaker during the special session of Parliament for members of the new Lok Sabha to take oath.

Sources from the opposition parties said the three opposition MPs -- Congress leader K Suresh, TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay, and DMK leader T R Baalu -- who have been nominated to assist the pro tem Speaker are considering not being part of the panel.

BJP members Radha Mohan Singh and Faggan Singh Kulaste are also part of the panel.

Several Congress leaders have raised objections to Mahtab's appointment to the post even as K Suresh has served more terms in the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said Mahtab was picked because he has the longest uninterrupted tenure as a member of the Lower House.

Rijiju said Suresh, though an eight-term MP, was not a member of the Lok Sabha in 1998 and 2004 and hence did not have an uninterrupted tenure in the lower house of Parliament.

The Congress has accused the government of "destroying parliamentary norms" by choosing seven-term MP Mahtab as pro tem Speaker instead of eight-term member Suresh.