Inaugural session of 16th Lok Sabha begins, adjourns in memory of Munde
New Delhi, June 4, 2014
The inaugural session of the 16th Lok Sabha commenced today but the House adjourned for the day without transacting any business after paying tributes to Union Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde, who died in a road accident here yesterday.
Earlier, former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath of the Congress, the seniormost member of the new Lok Sabha, was sworn in as the pro tem Speaker by President Pranab Mukherjee at a simple ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan this morning.
Vice-President M Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu were amongst those present on the occasion.
Immediately after the House assembled, Lok Sabha Secretary General P Sreedharan read out the notification about the constitution of the 16th Lok Sabha.
After that, Mr Nath informed the newly-elected members of the death of Mr Munde and read out an obituary reference to him, following which the members stood in silence for two minutes as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
After taking the sense of the House, Mr Nath said that members would take oath tomorrow, instead of today, as originally planned. The process is likely to continue till Friday afternoon, following which the election of the new Speaker will be held.
President Mukherjee will deliver the customary address to a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament on June 9. Accordingly, the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, has been convened from that date.
On June 10 and 11, the two Houses will have a debate on the motion of thanks to the President for his address, during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make an intervention in both Houses.
Both Houses will sit until June 11, though Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has indicated that the session could be extended by a day or two to attend to any urgent business.
Mr Nath has been a member of the Lok Sabha for the past 31 years. He will be assisted in the conduct of the proceedings by three other senior members -- Arjun Charan Sethi (Biju Janata Dal), former Speaker Purno A Sangma (National People's Party) and Biren Singh Engti (Congress) -- in conducting the sittings.
The BJP is, meanwhile, finalising its choice for the Speaker's position. The names being mentioned include former Minister Sumitra Mahajan, one of the seniormost members of the House, and Karia Munda, who was Deputy Speaker of the previous Lok Sabha. The names of veteran BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi have also figured in this regard.
Mr Naidu said that the process of electing the Deputy Speaker, a position that is often given to the Opposition, would be taken up after the election of the Speaker.
The Congress has managed to get only 44 seats in the House this time, 11 short of the 55-mark needed to give it the post of the Leader of the Opposition. But the Speaker can make an exception in the matter.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won 336 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, with the BJP bagging 282 seats, 10 more than needed for a simple majority in the House.