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TMC unhappy over Congress' unilateral decision on Lok Sabha Speaker candidate, decision on voting today

Trinamool leaders Derek O’Brien and Kalyan Banerjee conveyed this message at a meeting of I.N.D.I.A. Parliamentary floor leaders on Tuesday night when they met to finetune the voting strategy but only after conveying displeasure over not consulting them before forcing the decision.
Last Updated : 25 June 2024, 18:51 IST

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New Delhi: After “not being consulted in advance” over picking Kodikunnil Suresh as the joint Opposition candidate for Speaker’s post, Trinamool Congress increased the suspense by telling I.N.D.I.A. leaders that it would convey its decision on Wednesday morning.

Trinamool leaders Derek O’Brien and Kalyan Banerjee conveyed this message at a meeting of I.N.D.I.A. Parliamentary floor leaders on Tuesday night when they met to finetune the voting strategy but only after conveying displeasure over not consulting them before the decision was made.

Sources said Trinamool leaders told the meeting that they would convey their decision at 9:30 am on Wednesday, just hours ahead of the start of the Speaker’s election at 11 am.

The party, however, has decided that its members in the Lok Sabha would vote for Suresh on Wednesday.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to seek the support of her party for Om Birla. Mamata, however, conveyed to Singh that her party would support the Congress candidate.

Earlier in the day, the TMC expressed its displeasure over the Congress’ unilateral decision to field MP Suresh as the Opposition candidate for the Speaker’s post.

Sudip Bandyopadhyay, the TMC’s leader in the Lok Sabha, told journalists that he learned about Suresh’s nomination from a TV news channel and that the Congress had not discussed the matter with his party.

As Trinamool leaders told media that they were unaware of Suresh’s candidature, sources said Rahul first had a lengthy chat with Trinamool Congress National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee in Lok Sabha while the oath taking of newly elected MPs were going on.

Later at around 5 pm, sources said, Rahul dialled West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Supremo Mamata Banerjee, explaining to her about the circumstances that led to the candidature. Sources said Mamata conveyed to Rahul that there should be better coordination and the onus is on Congress.

Rahul, according to the sources, told Abhishek that the Congress had to move hurriedly after the ruling NDA had declined to commit the post of the LS Deputy Speaker for any MP of I.N.D.I.A. bloc in exchange of the support of the Opposition for the BJP’s candidate for the post of the Speaker.

The Congress leader explained to the TMC general secretary that the grand old party did not have much time to consult all the I.N.D.I.A. constituents before the deadline for Suresh to file nominations to contest against Birla.

It was after Rahul-Abhishek talks that Mamata decided to send her party’s representatives to the meeting of the I.N.D.I.A. leaders at the residence of the Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in the evening to discuss the strategy for the election to the post of the Speaker.

At the meeting chaired by Congress president and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, sources said some other parties also raised concerns over lack of coordination on Speaker election. They warned that it could lead to misconceptions.

Some parties also reminded the coalition partners that the numbers were not in favour and it should look at options to maximise its gains. Sources said some leaders also discussed not demanding voting and sticking to voice vote where the Opposition’s numbers are not advertised.

Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav told the meeting that they should ensure that they should not go below the number they have. The BJP-led NDA has 293 while the I.N.D.I.A. bloc has the support of 236 MPs but some of them are out of Delhi at present.

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Published 25 June 2024, 18:13 IST

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