A New Beginning: 18th Lok Sabha Convenes Amidst Political Flux

The 18th Lok Sabha session kicks off with oath-taking, highlighting post-election dynamics and parliamentary procedures.

Today marks the commencement of the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, a pivotal event in India’s parliamentary calendar following the 2024 general elections. The session promises to be a significant juncture in the nation’s political landscape, as newly-elected members, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gather to take their oaths of office. This ceremonial occasion will be a precursor to several key events scheduled in the coming days, including the election of the Lok Sabha Speaker and the address by President Droupadi Murmu to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections, conducted across seven phases from April to June, resulted in a victory for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), securing 293 seats. However, while the NDA emerged as the largest coalition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fell short of a majority on its own, clinching 240 seats. In contrast, the opposition coalition known as I.N.D.I.A garnered 234 seats, with the Congress Party securing 99 of those.

According to reports from PTI, the session’s inauguration will begin with President Murmu administering the oath of office to Bhartruhari Mahtab, a senior BJP leader and a seven-term Lok Sabha member, who will serve as the pro-tem Speaker. The selection of Mahtab has drawn criticism from opposition quarters, alleging that the rightful claimant, Congress member Kodikunnil Suresh, was overlooked. In defense, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju emphasized Mahtab’s extensive parliamentary experience spanning seven consecutive terms, which positioned him as the suitable choice for the pro-tem Speaker role.

The schedule for the initial parliamentary proceedings, as outlined in the PTI report, details a structured series of events. After the oath-taking ceremony for Mahtab, he will proceed to the Parliament House to convene the Lok Sabha’s first session promptly at 11:00 AM. The solemnity of the occasion will be marked by a moment of silence, symbolizing the commencement of the 18th Lok Sabha’s legislative duties.

Subsequently, Lok Sabha Secretary General Utpal Kumar Singh will formally present the list of newly-elected members, signifying the official start of parliamentary business. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as the Leader of the Lok Sabha, will then be invited by the pro-tem Speaker to take his oath of office, setting the stage for the legislative activities ahead.

The proceedings will be overseen by a panel of chairpersons appointed by the President to aid the pro-tem Speaker until the election of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. This panel includes notable figures such as T R Baalu from the DMK, Kodikunnil Suresh from the Congress, and representatives from the BJP and TMC, among others. Following the oath-taking by the panel members, the pro-tem Speaker will administer the oath to the Council of Ministers, marking another crucial step in the session’s inaugural rituals.

In the subsequent days, members from various states will continue to take their oaths in alphabetical order, ensuring the completion of the swearing-in process for all elected representatives. June 26th will witness the election of the Lok Sabha Speaker, followed by Prime Minister Modi introducing his council of ministers to the House. President Droupadi Murmu’s address to the joint sitting of both houses on June 27th will provide a comprehensive outline of the government’s agenda and policies for the upcoming term.

Post the President’s address, the parliamentary proceedings will continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks, slated to begin on June 28th. This deliberation is expected to extend into the following month, with Prime Minister Modi anticipated to respond to the debate around July 2nd or 3rd. The Houses will then adjourn briefly and reconvene on July 22nd for the presentation of the Union Budget, marking another significant milestone in the parliamentary calendar.

Amidst these formalities, MPs from the I.N.D.I.A bloc have planned a symbolic march to the House on the inaugural day of the 18th Lok Sabha session. Gathered near Gate No 2 of the old Parliament building, these opposition MPs intend to underline their commitment to upholding constitutional values. Holding copies of the Constitution, their procession aims to convey a message of solidarity and opposition to what they perceive as an electoral mandate contrary to the BJP’s claims.

While the NDA has successfully formed the government following the elections, the opposition’s assertions suggest a diverse interpretation of the public mandate. Claiming popular support for safeguarding constitutional principles, the I.N.D.I.A bloc’s coordinated actions underline their commitment to robust parliamentary opposition.

As the 18th Lok Sabha embarks on its legislative journey, these initial ceremonies and political maneuvers set the stage for a period of intense parliamentary activity. With the government’s agenda taking shape and opposition voices finding resonance, the session ahead promises to be a dynamic interplay of democracy in action, reflecting the diverse aspirations and challenges of India’s electorate.

Aryan Jakhar
Aryan Jakharhttps://www.aryanjakhar.com/
Aryan Jakhar, an Indian journalist, founded Business Headline and The Shining Media Group. Previously, he contributed to Indian media outlets including BusinessUpturn, Inc42, and the India Today Group.

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