Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Rajnath Singh meets senior ministers ahead of Speaker’s election

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha begins on June 24
Last Updated : 18 June 2024, 16:22 IST

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New Delhi: With days left for the Speaker’s election, NDA party leaders on Tuesday met at the residence of Union defence minister Rajnath Singh to build a consensus over their candidate for the top post.

While an agreement within NDA partners remained a strong probability for the BJP, the Opposition could ask for the position of the Deputy Speaker. To iron out issues, leaders of the NDA partners are likely to meet once again on Wednesday or Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Tuesday, NDA leaders including JDU’s Lallan Singh, LJP’s Chirag Paswan, TDP’s Rammohan Naidu, Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel, besides BJP leaders Manohar Lal Khattar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Kiren Rijiju, and S Jaishankar were among those present at the meeting. Union home minister Amit Shah was present, too.

TDP and JDU sources have said that they will not oppose any candidate proposed by the BJP after discussion. “We will agree to their decision, our primary focus is the state. The BJP has been keeping up in the loop,” a senior TDP leader told DH.

As per NDA sources, there is a strong possibility of outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla continuing. Other names that are doing the rounds are BJP’s senior Andhra face D Purandeshwari, who is related to TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu. Also, senior leader Bhatruhari Mahtab’s name is also being discussed.

Opposition sources said that there is a “strong chance” that they would ask for the position of Deputy Speaker in exchange for consensus for the NDA’s Speaker candidate. In the 16th Lok Sabha, AIADMK leader Thambi Durai held the post when the party had 38 MPs. In the 17th Lok Sabha, when the BJP alone had 303 MPs, there was no Deputy Speaker.

Though not mandatory, the Deputy Speaker's position is typically offered to the Opposition; but it has not been the case in the last decade. The Congress, with 98 MPs now, can ask for it.

The special session will also see the election of the Pro-tem Speaker, whose job will be to conduct the swearing-in of the MPs, but might have a crucial role in case the Opposition I.N.D.I.A. bloc forces a contest for the Speaker’s position.

A senior face is usually given the job – in this Lok Sabha, with eight terms, Congress’ Kodikunnil Suresh is the senior most. In the BJP with seven or six terms are Faggan Singh Kulaste, Radha Mohan Singh, Bhatruhari Mahtab and Mansukhbhai Vasava.

In the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, apart from Suresh, TR Baalu has seven terms. In the 17th Lok Sabha, though Santosh Gangwar and Maneka Gandhi were senior most, Virendra Kumar was chosen as Pro-tem Speaker; he is minister in the new Modi Cabinet.

On June 26, the Prime Minister will move the name of the NDA’s candidate for Speaker, and his proposal is likely to be seconded by Rajnath Singh. The NDA will have at least 4-5 other sets of proposals for their candidate. Election will take place with a show of hands.

Once the Speaker is elected, Union parliamentary affairs minister Kiren Rijiju will thank the Pro-tem Speaker, and the Speaker will start conducting the proceedings of the House. The Prime Minister is likely to address the House soon after.

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Published 18 June 2024, 16:22 IST

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