Om Birla re-elected Speaker of Lok Sabha, defeats Congress' K Suresh

As he went to occupy the chair of the Speaker, Birla was accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju.
Last Updated : 26 June 2024, 05:51 IST

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New Delhi: BJP MP from Kota Om Birla was re-elected the Speaker of the Lok Sabha where the NDA trumped the I.N.D.I.A. bloc. The Opposition did not press for a division and the election was carried by a voice vote. Once he was elected, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accompanied by Rahul Gandhi, who has been elected as the Leader of the Opposition, to welcome Birla to the Speaker’s chair.

While Modi praised the Speaker in his welcome address, Rahul Gandhi, the newly nominated leader of opposition, urged Birla the “voice of the people be heard” inside the House. In their responses to Birla’s re-election, members of the I.N.D.I.A. parties sought to drive home the message that he should be non-partisan and that he should not suspend members.

Election for the Speaker’s position started with Modi proposing Birla’s name for the post, which was seconded by senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh. Birla’s name was proposed by 12 more NDA leaders, including JD(U)’s Lalan Singh, HAM’s Jitan Ram Manjhi, Amit Shah, Shiv Sena's Prataprao Ganpatrao Jadhav, LJP’s Chirag Paswan, JD(S)’s H D Kumaraswamy, TDP’s Rammohan Naidu, SKM’s Indra Hang Subba, Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel, among others. These proposals were seconded by RLD’s Rajkumar Sangwan, BJP’s Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Nitin Gadkari, NCP (Ajit faction) MP Sunil Tatkare, UPPL’s Joyanta Basumatary, Jana Sena’s Vallabhaneni Balashowry, TDP’s Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayalu, AGP’s Phani Bhushan Choudhury, etc.

I.N.D.I.A. candidate Kodikunnil Suresh’s name was proposed by Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Arvind Sawant, SP’s Anand Bhadauria, and NCP (SP)’s Supriya Sule. These proposals were seconded by RSP’s NK Premachandran, Congress’s Tariq Anwar and DMK’s Kanimozhi.

Birla was soon elected by a voice vote, following which Modi rose to congratulate him. “Balram Jhakar was the first Speaker to hold the post again after five successive years, and today, you will lead us into a second term. There were some historic decisions taken in your first term – several bills such Nari Shakti Adhineeyam, Nyay Sanhita bills, Data Protection Bill etc. which affected us sociologically, were passed by you. You also turned the Parliament paperless, and checked on all members personally during Covid,” the Prime Minister said in his address.

Rahul Gandhi, in his address, said that he hopes Birla will allow the Opposition to represent their voice. “I hope you will allow us to speak, allow us to represent the voice of the people of India. The question is not how efficiently the House is run. The question is how much of India’s voice is being allowed to be heard in this House. The idea that you can run the House efficiently by silencing the voice of the Opposition is a non-democratic idea,” Gandhi said.

The next to speak was Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh, who urged Birla to not suspend MPs indiscriminately. “We expect that no public representative’s voice will be stifled, nor will action like expulsion take place again. Your control is on the Opposition, but it should be on the ruling side also,” he said.

TMC’s Sudip Bandopadhyay hailed the appointment of LoP and said the Speaker should be mindful that the House belongs to the Opposition. DMK’s T R Baalu said that Birla may have been elected on the BJP’s symbol, but his elevation to the post must remind him he is now no longer a party member.

JD(U)’s Lalan Singh hailed Birla for steps like urging more women MPs to speak during Zero Hour, and TDP’s Krishna Devarayalu congratulated him. On the other hand, SS (UBT)’s Sanjay Raut reminded him that the EC Bill was passed when several Opposition MPs were suspended, and NCP (Sharad)’s Supriya Sule reminded him of the suspension of 150 MPs in his tenure.

Once the Parliamentary Party leaders of bigger parties finished their individual addresses, Birla wanted to move on to the prime minister’s introduction of his council of ministers. Several of these MPs soon protested, leading Birla to relent.

At the end of the proceedings, Birla, in his address, said that there should be positive criticism of the government’s policies, but there should be no pre-planned disruption of proceedings. “There must be a difference between protest in Parliament and protest on the streets … The conduct of MPs should be courteous and meaningful dialogue should take place in a healthy environment,” he said.

Published 26 June 2024, 05:51 IST

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