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Lok Sabha Speaker: All eyes on BJP’s pick

Om Birla, the speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha and the three-time MP Kota in Rajasthan is likely to continue in the job.
Last Updated : 24 June 2024, 17:04 IST

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New Delhi: With the deadline for nominations for the Speaker’s position being 12 pm on Tuesday, all eyes are now on the BJP’s pick for the job, with several NDA parties lending their support in principle and it looks unlikely that the Opposition will force a contest.

With PM Modi retaining his top ministers in third innings, there were speculations on whether he would maintain continuity in the selection of speaker.

Om Birla, the speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha and three-time MP Kota in Rajasthan is thus seen to be in contention.

Former union minister and Andhra CM Chandra Babu Naidu’s sister-in-law and BJP MP D Purandeshwari’s name has also been doing the rounds.

BJP leaders remained tight-lipped about the probables, but meetings between several key faces of the Modi Cabinet took place – union parliamentary affairs minister Kiren Rijiju and food and consumer affairs minister Pralhad Joshi met commerce Piyush Goyal even as the swearing-in continued.

Though there were speculations that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will ask for the position, sources in the Andhra party said that they will lend their support to the BJP.

TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu, while speaking to MPs on Saturday, conveyed to them that after union minister Amit Shah called him about the election, Naidu had conveyed that they are not interested in the post.

After the nominations for the Speaker are filed on Tuesday, elections to the post will take place on Wednesday. PM Modi is expected to address the House soon after, and Rijiju will thank the pro-tem Speaker for his services.

While the Opposition criticised the appointment of severn-term BJP MP Bhatruhari Mahtab as pro-tem Speaker overlooking Congress's Kodikunnil Suresh who had eight terms, the BJP said that Suresh's terms were not consecutive.

The government's insistence on a consensus on the Speaker’s post were marred by the episode. The Opposition, too, remains tight-lipped about a contest, but without the numbers, it is unlikely that it will do so.

The position of the Deputy Speaker – a post that remained vacant in the last term – is traditionally given to the Opposition. But the BJP, which offered it to NDA ally AIADMK’s Thambi Durai in 2014, is keen to offer it to the TDP.

While there are not too many instances of Speakers continuing in their position, in the past, Balram Jakhar had continued in his job in 1985 after being the Speaker in 1980 as well, and GMC Balayogi, too, served two consecutive terms – 1998 and 1999. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, too, was Speaker twice, but the terms (1967 and 1977) were not consecutive.

It must be added that the Speaker’s post has not had a contest since 1946 when GV Mavalankar won the election against Cowasjee Jehangir by a slim margin of three votes.

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Published 24 June 2024, 17:04 IST

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