The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha is scheduled to commence on Monday (June 24). During this session, newly elected Members of Parliament, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will participate in the oath-taking ceremony.

The session, which wraps up on July 3 with Prime Minister Modi’s response to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s speech, promises to be lively. The government is expected to face significant opposition on several fronts.

There are demands to delay the implementation of new criminal laws scheduled for July 1. The ongoing violence in Manipur and terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir are also major issues. The Agnipath scheme is another point of contention. Additionally, the government will be challenged on issues of price rise and unemployment. Meanwhile, incidents of rioting in BJP-ruled states are expected to be heavily debated as well.

This session follows the general elections where the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured 293 seats, while the INDIA bloc won 234 seats, with the Congress holding 99 of them. A meeting of newly elected Congress MPs has been called at 10 am at the CPP office in Parliament.

Oath-taking ceremony and Pro-Tem Speaker appointment

President Droupadi Murmu will administer the oath to Bhartruhari Mahtab, a BJP lawmaker, as the pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Following this, Mahtab will invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take his oath as a member of the House.

Anticipated challenges in the first post-election Lok Sabha session

The session is expected to be contentious, with the Opposition likely to challenge the BJP-led NDA government on several issues. These include the election of the Speaker on June 26, discussions about alleged paper leaks in NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams, and controversies surrounding the appointment of the pro-tem Speaker.

The session begins with tension as three Opposition MPs have refused to assist Pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab, protesting the government’s decision to overlook eight-term MP Kodikkunnil Suresh for the role. On Monday, President Droupadi Murmu will administer the oath to Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker.

This controversy may overshadow the session, potentially leading to an unprecedented contest for the Speaker position. There is also debate over whether the Deputy Speaker post should be left for the Opposition, which could lead to a vote for the Speaker post.

The Congress party has sharply criticised the government’s decision to appoint seven-term BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as Pro-tem Speaker instead of the senior-most Dalit MP Kodikkunnil Suresh from Congress. Congress leader K Suresh pointed out that an eighth-term MP has been overlooked in favour of a seventh-term MP. In response, Suresh is likely to be the joint candidate of the Opposition, which is strategising to address this issue.

Railway safety concerns

The accident involving the Kolkata-bound Kanchanjunga Express, which resulted in nearly 10 passenger deaths, is expected to be a significant point of contention as well. The accident, attributed to human error, has drawn sharp criticism from the Opposition amid concerns about railway safety.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will be held from June 24 to July 3, focusing on the oath and affirmation of newly elected Members. Meanwhile, the 264th session of the Rajya Sabha will begin on June 27 and conclude on July 3.

First Published: Jun 24 2024 | 9:43 AM IST

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