Six-time MP from Cuttack and the son of former Odisha chief minister H K Mahtab, Bhartruhari Mahtab recently hogged the limelight after his name did the rounds for the post of Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha. The Modi government made the generous offer to Naveen Patnaik even though his regional bloc- Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was the fifth largest Opposition party by strength of numbers and also not an ally of the BJP led NDA at the Centre.
Mahtab has been an outstanding Parliamentarian. As a fiery orator, he has adroitly articulated issues of national importance as well as the woes afflicting Odisha. Lately, he urged the Central government to launch an impartial probe into the mysterious death of Jana Sangh leader Syama Prasad Mookerjee. Pointing out that the West Bengal Assembly had passed a resolution to probe the death — Mookerjee had died while being incarcerated in Jammu and Kashmir — Mahtab said in Lok Sabha: “Till date, no such investigation has been conducted. But the resolution of the West Bengal Assembly is still there. It was sent to the Union government, especially to the then Home Ministry, to conduct an investigation to find out what was the cause of death.”
Mahtab represents the prestigious Cuttack constituency in the Parliament. He has been winning from the seat since 2004. Before immersing himself in full-time politics, Mahtab was a fiery, passionate journalist and edited Prajatantra, a vernacular of huge repute in its heydays. He was born on September 8, 1957 at Agarpara in Bhadrak district to the legendary Harekrushna Mahtab and Subhadra Mahtab. He is armed with a post graduate degree in English from the Utkal University, Bhubaneswar.
As a veteran Parliamentarian, Mahtab has served in numerous committees- privileges, external affairs, education, tourism, labour, vigilance, agriculture, information technology, culture, broadcasting, panchayati raj, public accounts et al. He lists reading, writing and travelling as his favourite recreational activities. The Parliamentarian has travelled widely across countries and continents. Some of his overseas jaunts include attending UN Summits at Copenhagen in Denmark and Rome in Italy; and 50th Anniversary of UN at New York in U.S.A.; visited U.S.A. through USIS; accompanied Prime Minister during his visit to Iran, Russia, Senegal, Tunisia and Venezuela; attended IXth and XIth NAM Conferences at Belgrade in Yugoslavia in 1989 and Cartegena in Columbia in 1995; and attended 52nd UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) in October 1998 as unofficial Member for two weeks representing Indian Mission in U.N.; visited Mexico as Member of Indian Parliamentary Delegation in May 2001; attended special session of UN for Children, as a member of Indian Parliamentary Delegation in May 2002; also attended 56th, 57th and 58th UN General Assembly as an unofficial delegate for two weeks representing Indian Mission in United Nations in October 2002, October 2003 and November 2004 respectively; participated in Commonwealth Parliamentary Union Workshop on “Right to Information” at Ghana in July 2004; attended CPU at Fiji in September 2007 as Indian Parliamentary Delegate; and attended IPU in Zeneva, Sept. 2008 as Indian Delegate; attended the 64th UNGA as an unofficial Indian delegate representing Indian Mission in United Nations; in October 2009; led Indian Parliamentary Delegation to Dhaka to attend CPU-World Bank Institute sponsored Role of Public Accounts Committee in SAARC Countries in November 2009 and attended Climate Change Summit as Indian Delegate at Copenhagen in December 2009.
He belongs to that rare vanishing species of parliamentarians who are acclaimed for their liberal outlook, ennobling eloquence, observance of rules, clarity of thought and conviction. Over a period of two decades, through his inspiring speeches on the floor of the House, his contributions to the committees, his exemplary conduct and dignified bearing in and outside the Parliament, and as India’s representative to the United Nations, Mahtab acquired a formidable reputation as an accomplished parliamentarian, touching the subliminal heights of a true statesman.