LS pro-tem Speaker issue: Cong should make Kodikunnil Suresh LoP, says BJP

LS pro-tem Speaker issue: Cong should make Kodikunnil Suresh LoP, says BJP

A day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Congress slammed the Centre over the pro-tem Speaker appointment issue, the BJP on Saturday hit back by asking the grand old party to make Kodikunnil Suresh as the Opposition leader in the Lok Sabha.

Both Vijayan and the Congress have claimed that not appointing Suresh, the senior most MP in the Lok Sabha, as the pro-tem Speaker is a violation of the conventions followed in the past.

Hitting back, BJP state chief K Surendran said that the Congress should protest against the Centre's decision by making Suresh the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.

He also termed the Congress MP from Mavelikara constituency as "brilliant", a member of the Dalit community and a member from Kerala -- "the family home of Rahul (Gandhi) and Priyanka (Gandhi) today and tomorrow Vadra's".

"At any rate, this man (Suresh) should be made the leader of the opposition. This is how the Congress party should express its protest against him not being made a pro-tem Speaker for two days," Surendran said, in a Facebook post, taking a dig at the grand old party.

On Friday, Suresh, an eight-term MP, said that being the most senior Lok Sabha member, he ought to have been made the pro-tem Speaker as per convention.

The same was reiterated by other senior Congress leaders -- including Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan and Ramesh Chennithala -- in the southern state.

Suresh had also criticised the Centre's decision by saying that it amounts to threatening parliamentary democracy in the country and indicates that the BJP will continue to bypass parliamentary procedures or use them for its own interests, as it did the last two times.

Vijayan, who too criticised the Centre's decision, had also questioned as to what was the BJP's answer to those who suspect that Suresh, the Congress MP from Mavelikara constituency, was not considered for the post due to the "upper caste politics" followed by the Sangh Parivar.

The criticisms had come a day after seven-term parliamentarian and BJP leader Bhartruhari Mahtab was made the pro-tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

The pro-tem Speaker will administer the oath/affirmation to the newly elected members of the 18th Lok Sabha and preside over the Lower House till the election of the Speaker.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will begin on June 24. The newly elected members will take oath on June 24-25.

The election for the Speaker is scheduled to take place on June 26.