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Meet Bhartruhari Mahtab: Pro-Tem Speaker for 18th Lok Sabha

Today, Bhartruhari Mahtab, a seven-term member of parliament, took the oath of office as the 18th Lok Sabha’s pro-tem speaker. The Cuttack-born member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was sworn in by President Droupadi Murmu.

The Opposition, however, blasted the Centre for appointing Mr. Mahtab as the pro-tem Speaker and “overlooking” Kodikunnil Suresh, an eight-term member of the Lok Sabha, who presumably ought to have been named as the senior-most MP according to convention. In addition, they said that Suresh was excluded since “he belongs to the Dalit community.”

Bhartruhari Mahtab: who is he?

Mr. Mahtab was born in 1957. His father, the late Harekrushna Mahtab, was the first chief minister of Odisha. As per his election declaration, he completed his education in Bhadrak and then went on to study for a Bachelor of Arts and subsequently a Master’s Degree in English at Utkal University in 1978.

Prior to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Mahtab broke with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which was led by former Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, after several decades of affiliation. He was unhappy with the way the party had been running in the last few years. He then joined the BJP, which declared him its contender for the Cuttack seat later on. In the polls conducted in 2024, Mr. Mahtab defeated Santrupt Misra, his former party colleague, by 57,077 votes to win an unprecedented seventh straight term from the seat.

Mr. Mahtab is one of the lawmakers with the longest tenure in the 18th Lok Sabha. He is an MP from the Odisha parliamentary seat of Cuttack, having served seven terms. Since 1998, the 66-year-old has served as the Lower House of Parliament’s representative for Cuttack. He was a member of the 17th Lok Sabha’s panel of chairpersons.

Mr. Mahtab has been designated as the pro-tem Speaker following the BJP’s decisive win in Odisha, when the party overthrew Mr. Patnaik’s 24-year rule. In the meantime, the saffron party won 78 seats and established the state’s administration. Additionally, the BJP won 20 of the state’s 21 Lok Sabha seats.

He presided over the Standing Committee on Labour, Textiles, and Skill Development during his most recent tenure. In addition to his membership on the Public Accounts Committee, he was also chosen as the deputy chairman of the Committee on Official Language. In addition, Mr. Mahtab is the proprietor and editor of The Prajatantra, an Odia newspaper that his father started.

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Source: NDTV

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