Bhartruhari MahtabBhartruhari Mahtab

Who Is Bhartruhari Mahtab, the Pro-Tem Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha?

Bhartruhari Mahtab, born on September 8, 1957, is a seasoned Indian politician from Odisha. Recently nominated to serve as the pro-tem speaker of the Lok Sabha in June 2024, Mahtab’s political journey is both long and distinguished. With a career spanning over two decades in the Lok Sabha, his contributions have been significant and impactful.

Bhartruhari Mahtab
Life of Bhartruhari Mahtab

 

Early Life and Education of Bhartruhari Mahtab

Bhartruhari Mahtab is the son of the late Harekrushna Mahatab, who served twice as the Chief Minister of Odisha. Following in his father’s illustrious footsteps, Mahtab pursued his education with diligence. He completed his schooling in Bhadrak and later obtained a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s Degree in English from Utkal University in 1978.

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Political Career of Bhartruhari Mahtab

Biju Janata Dal (BJD)

Mahtab started his political career with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). He was first elected to the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998 from the Cuttack constituency in Odisha. He successfully retained his seat in subsequent elections in 1999, 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019. His tenure in the Lok Sabha is marked by several accolades, including the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 2017. Additionally, he received the Sansad Ratna Award for his exemplary performance in debates for four consecutive years from 2017 to 2020.

Shift to BJP

In a significant political move, Mahtab resigned from the BJD and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on March 28, 2024. This decision came ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, where he expressed dissatisfaction with the BJD’s functioning in recent years. Mahtab was inducted into the BJP by prominent leaders Vinod Tawde, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Baijayant Panda. He was subsequently announced as the BJP candidate for the Cuttack seat, securing a historic seventh consecutive term by defeating his former party colleague, Santrupt Misra, by 57,077 votes.

Bhartruhari Mahtab
Journey of Bhartruhari Mahtab

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Role of Bhartruhari Mahtab as Pro-Tem Speaker

On June 20, 2024, President Droupadi Murmu appointed Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro-tem speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha, under Article 95(1) of the Constitution of India. His tenure as the pro-tem speaker commenced on the first day of the 18th Lok Sabha sitting, June 24, 2024. The appointment, however, was not without controversy. The opposition criticized the decision, arguing that Kodikunnil Suresh, an eight-term Lok Sabha member, was overlooked for the role. They alleged that Suresh, a member of the Dalit community, was sidelined due to his background.

Achievements and Contributions of Bhartruhari Mahtab

Parliamentary Committees

During his tenure, Mahtab served on various parliamentary committees. Notably, he was the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Labour, Textiles, and Skill Development. He also held the position of deputy chairperson of the Committee on Official Language and was a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

Editorial Role

Apart from his political career, Mahtab is also the owner and editor of “The Prajatantra,” an Odia daily founded by his father. This role underscores his commitment to journalism and public communication.

Bhartruhari Mahtab
Bhartruhari Mahtab is a pro speaker

Bhartruhari Mahtab

Impact on Odisha Politics

Mahtab’s switch to BJP and his subsequent victory played a pivotal role in the BJP’s remarkable performance in Odisha. The party not only managed to dislodge the 24-year regime of Naveen Patnaik’s BJD but also secured 78 seats in the state assembly and 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha.

Conclusion

Bhartruhari Mahtab’s journey from being a BJD stalwart to a prominent BJP leader and pro-tem speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha is a testament to his resilience and political acumen. His vast experience, coupled with his dedication to public service, makes him a significant figure in Indian politics. As he continues to serve in his new role, Mahtab’s contributions to the legislative process and his impact on Odisha’s political landscape remain noteworthy.

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