60 years ago, in Parliament

Sunday Stories

Not much transpired on May 13, 1952, the first day of the first session of the first Parliament of India. Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha met at quarter to eleven in the morning. Both the Houses observed silence for two minutes before beginning the proceedings. In the Lok Sabha, G V Mavalankar was named the interim Speaker and President Rajendra Prasad advised all the newly-elected members to take the oath or make the affirmation before him. Before beginning the process, Mavalankar made a disclaimer that all the names would be pronounced correctly, as far as possible. "...still if there be any mistake, I trust the honourable members concerned will generally excuse the same."

Not all the members could take the oath the first day. The House reconvened after a gap of a day on May 15. After the remaining members took the oath, the proceedings for electing the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were set in motion.

Agree to disagree

That it was a House with divergent voices and views was evident from the word go. Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru moved a resolution in the Lok Sabha proposing Mavalankar's name for the Speaker's post. The resolution was seconded by Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Satya Narayan Sinha.

Immediately after this, A K Gopalan of the Communist Party of India and an MP from Cannanore moved a counter-resolution proposing Shankar Shantaram More's name. T K Chaudhuri from Berhampore seconded the motion.

The dissension between the ruling party and the Opposition was for all to see. Dr Lanka Sundaram, an Independent member from Madras, tried to work out a truce by asking the ruling party to accept the Opposition's candidate as Deputy Speaker in lieu of the Opposition's support to their candidate for the Speaker's post. He was, however, opposed by the members.

... contd.

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