Om Birla is new LS speaker, Oppn urges impartiality

Om Birla (PTI)

Senior BJP leader Om Birla on Wednesday was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

Members cutting across party lines assured support for the smooth conduct of the House proceedings.

The Opposition leaders urged Birla to be impartial.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi moved the motion in the Lok Sabha proposing Birla, a two-term member from Kota-Bundi parliamentary seat, for the post of the speaker, which was seconded by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

As many as 14 motions proposing Birla as the Speaker were moved by leaders, highlighting the bipartisan nature of the election.

Pro tem Speaker Virendra Kumar put the motion moved by the prime minister to vote which was carried unanimously.

After Birla was declared elected as Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the prime minister and floor leaders of all political parties escorted him to the Chair.

“On behalf of the government and the treasury benches, I assure you full support in conducting the House. I also assure you that your order will prevail and you must be tough even if anyone from our side (treasury benches) crosses the limit,” Modi said, congratulating Birla.

Congress' Adhir Chowdhury urged Birla to be impartial and also drew his attention to the practice of not sending draft legislation to the Parliamentary Standing Committees, a view that was echoed by BJD leader Pinaki Misra.

“In the previous government, very few bills were referred to the standing committees. This is not a good practice. Scrutiny by standing committees is utmost necessary,” Misra said.

Trinamool member Sudip Bandyopadhyay said Parliament should belong to the Opposition too and cautioned the newly elected Speaker against falling to “brute majoritanism” which at times affected the functioning of the House.

AIMIM member Asaduddin Owaisi termed the Speaker as the referee of the House and made it clear that he cannot be a part of the game.

“You also have an important role to ensure that the elected government does not become a monarchy,” Owaisi said.

Members of smaller parties said they expected the Speaker to grant them adequate time to present their views in the Lok Sabha.

N K Premchandran of the RSP urged the Speaker to protect the democratic rights of members asserting that an active Opposition is good for a healthy democracy.

Union Minister Ramdas Athawale added some lighter moments to the proceeding as he broke into a verse to congratulate the Speaker and took a dig at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who was present in the House.

Athawale also reminded the Congress how it had made overtures to him before the Lok Sabha elections.

“When you were in power, I was with you. You wanted me by your side before the elections, but I had sensed the direction of the wind, It was towards Modi,” the RPI(A) leader said sending the entire House into peals of laughter.

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