Opposition protest
Opposition protestIANS

President Droupadi Murmu administered the oath to BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha, setting the process of session in motion.

However, Congress and INDIA bloc MPs – who are panel members – refrained from assisting in the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected MPs during the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, expressing dissatisfaction over the appointment of BJP MP Bhartruhari Mehtab as pro-tem Speaker instead of the eight-time Congress MP K Suresh.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will mark the swearing-in of all newly elected Members of Parliament and run until July 3. Following the two-day swearing-in ceremony, the election for the Lok Sabha Speaker is slated for June 26, and President Murmu will address a joint session of both houses on June 27. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha will be chosen for the first time in ten years.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of Minority Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Monday extended a warm welcome to the newly elected members for the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, which is set to begin on Monday.

In a post on X, Rijiju expressed his readiness to assist the members and emphasised the importance of coordination for the smooth functioning of the House. "The First Session of the 18th Lok Sabha begins today, the 24th of June, 2024. I welcome all the newly elected hon'ble members. I shall always be available to assist the members as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. I'm positively looking forward to coordination to run the House," stated the BJP MP.

Earlier in the day, BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab was sworn in as the pro-tem Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha. The oath was administered by President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also in attendance.

Kiren Rijiju with TR Balu
Kiren Rijiju with TR BaluIANS

Arunachal West MP Rijiju also had a courtesy meeting with T.R. Baalu, the leader of the DMK Parliamentary Party. "Had a pleasant courtesy meeting with senior Member of Parliament and Leader of DMK Parliamentary Party Thiru T.R. Baalu," he wrote, sharing pictures of the meeting.

The 18th Lok Sabha was constituted following the general elections held across India in seven phases from April 19 to June 1, 2024. The results, declared on June 4, 2024, saw the BJP securing the maximum seats at 240, followed by Congress with 99 seats.

Despite falling short of the absolute majority of 272 seats, the BJP formed the government through a coalition under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). This marks the third consecutive term for the PM Modi-led government at the Centre. 

(With inputs from IANS)