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Lok Sabha braces for Speaker's election after 1976

While elections to the Speaker's post were common before Independence, the position of the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha has witnessed contests only thrice in Independent India – in 1952, 1967 and 1976.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 15:01 IST

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New Delhi: The Lok Sabha will witness a rare election for the Speaker's post – the first since 1976 – as Congress member Kodikunnil Suresh has been made the opposition candidate against NDA nominee Om Birla.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh failed to give an assurance on the opposition party’s claim to the Deputy Speaker's post.

While elections to the Speaker's post were common before Independence, the position of the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha has witnessed contests only thrice in Independent India – in 1952, 1967 and 1976.

In 1952, Congress member G V Mavalankar was elected as the Lok Sabha Speaker. Mavalankar polled 394 votes against opponent Shantaram More, who managed to garner 55 votes.

In 1967, Tenneti Viswanatham contested the election for Lok Sabha Speaker against Congress nominee Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy. Reddy was elected as the Speaker having polled 278 votes against Viswanatham’s 207.

In the fifth Lok Sabha, the duration of the fifth session was extended by an year following the imposition of Emergency by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. The then Speaker G S Dhillon had resigned on December 1, 1975.

Congress leader Baliram Bhagat was elected the Lok Sabha Speaker on January 5, 1976. Gandhi had moved the motion to elect Bhagat as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, while Prasannabhai Mehta of the Congress (O) had moved the motion to elect Jana Sangh leader Jagannathrao Joshi to the post. Bhagat polled 344 votes against Joshi's 58.

In 1998, the then Congress leader Sharad Pawar had moved a motion to elect P A Sangma as the Speaker, which was negatived. After the rejection of Pawar’s motion, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee moved a motion to choose TDP member G M C Balayogi as the Lok Sabha Speaker. The motion moved by Vajpayee was adopted.

Since Independence, only M A Ayyangar, G S Dhillon, Balram Jakhar and G M C Balayogi have retained the coveted posts in the subsequent Lok Sabhas.

Jakhar was the Speaker of the seventh and the eighth Lok Sabhas and holds the distinction of being the only presiding officer to complete two full terms.

Balayogi was chosen as the Speaker of the 12th Lok Sabha, which had a tenure of 19 months. He was also chosen as the Speaker of the 13th Lok Sabha on October 22, 1999, till his death in a chopper crash on March 3, 2002.

On Tuesday, as the Congress nominated eight-term member Kodikunnil Suresh for the Lok Sabha Speaker's post, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju appealed to the opposition to reconsider its decision.

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Published 25 June 2024, 15:01 IST

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