It’s Birla vs Suresh for Lok Sabha Speaker post


NEW DELHI: BJP’s Om Birla will fight it out with Kodikunnil Suresh of the Congress for the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post after efforts to reach a consensus between the government and the opposition failed on Tuesday.

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The voting will take place on Wednesday.

Both Birla and Suresh filed their nominations as NDA and INDIA bloc candidates, respectively.

Birla served as Speaker in the previous Lok Sabha as well and if he wins he would be the first person to get the post for the second term in 25 years. Before filing his nomination, Birla also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has returned to the Lok Sabha for the third time from Kota in Rajasthan,

Suresh, an eight-time MP from Kerala, said it is not about winning or losing, but about a convention that Speaker will be of ruling party and deputy speaker will be of opposition.

“Last two Lok Sabhas, they denied us deputy speaker’s post because they said you are not recognised as the opposition. Now we are recognised as the opposition, deputy speaker post is our right. But they are not ready to give us. Till 11.50 we were waiting for reply from government’s side but they did not give any reply,” he told reporters.

Senior BJP leader and Union minister Rajnath Singh reached out to opposition leaders for their support to Birla, but the Congress wanted the deputy speaker’s post for the Opposition in return citing convention and past practices.

There was no deputy speaker in the previous Lok Sabha.

Union Ministers Rajiv Ranjan Singh and Piyush Goyal said it was wrong on the part of Opposition to put conditions and Rajnath Singh told them that the issue can be discussed when time comes for election of deputy speaker.

The opposition, however, wanted the post immediately and the NDA would not agree to such conditions, the two ministers told reporters.

Earlier in the morning, Congress leader K C Venugopal and DMK’s T R Baalu walked out of Defence Minister Singh’s office, refusing to endorse NDA candidate Birla without being offered the deputy speaker’s position.

Venugopal said the BJP refused to give a commitment on offering the deputy speaker’s post to the opposition.

Union ministers Amit Shah and J P Nadda besides Singh tried to persuade opposition leaders to endorse the NDA nominee but in vain.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said this has come barely 24 hours after the prime minister called for consensus.

Ramesh said, “Convention has been that the Speaker is elected unanimously and the deputy speaker’s post goes to the Opposition.”

He accused Prime Minister Modi of breaking this tradition.

“It is actually no surprise. He has still not woken up to the reality of the 2024 poll verdict which was a PPM defeat for him–personal, political and moral,” he posted on X.

Sources said over 10 sets of nominations were filed in support of Birla’s candidature, including from Prime Minister Modi, Union ministers Shah, Singh and Nadda, and BJP allies like TDP, JD(U), JD(S) and LJP (R).

Three sets of nominations were filed in support of Suresh, a Dalit leader.


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