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Parliament LIVE: New MPs Sworn In as 18th Lok Sabha Kicks Off; Spotlight on Pro-tem Speaker and NEET Controversy

The 18th Lok Sabha opens on June 24 with an oath-taking ceremony for the newly-elected Members of Parliament, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This inaugural special session of Parliament is expected to be a contentious one, as the Opposition is likely to raise the issue of the NEET paper leak. The Lok Sabha 2024 election results have indicated a resurgence of the INDIA bloc, which has brought alleged irregularities in the NEET-UG examination and the now-cancelled UGC-NET exam to the forefront of political debates. These allegations are set to be a major point of contention between the new BJP-led NDA government and the Opposition alliance, promising a stormy beginning to the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha.

Another source of potential conflict is the appointment of BJP leader and seven-term member Bhartruhari Mahtab as the pro tem Speaker. This decision has been met with criticism from the Opposition, who argue that the claim of Congress member K. Suresh to the position was unjustly overlooked by the government. The controversy surrounding Mr. Mahtab's appointment is likely to cast a shadow over the session, adding to the already charged atmosphere.

On Monday, President Droupadi Murmu will administer the oath of office to Mr. Mahtab as the pro tem Speaker of the Lok Sabha at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. Following the ceremony, Mr. Mahtab will proceed to the Parliament House, where he will call the Lok Sabha to order at 11 a.m. This sequence of events sets the stage for what promises to be a dramatic and potentially contentious session of the newly convened 18th Lok Sabha.

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