The BJP has reportedly offered the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha post to the YSRCP, which won 22 seats in the Parliamentary Elections, reported the Times of India. BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao met with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday. A closed-door discussion that lasted for close to half an hour that is being called a "courtesy call" by the BJP leader has raised speculation over the Deputy Speaker post for the 17th Lok Sabha being offered to the YSRCP.
Sources in the YSRCP told TOI that the offer for the Deputy Speaker post has been made to the party, and it came with the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. The YSRCP had reportedly sought time to discuss the offer as they are concerned about the message that it would send to its voter base that comprise of Muslims and Christians.
However, speaking to reporters after the meeting, GVL Narasimha Rao said he did not know as to which party would be offered Deputy Speaker's post and that the decision would be taken by the BJP leadership.
The BJP MP told reporters after meeting Jagan Reddy at the latter's official residence that it was a courtesy call and that they did not discuss politics. Narasimha Rao said he did not know as to which party would be offered Deputy Speaker's post. He said this would be decided by the BJP leadership.
The BJP leader said he did not know if the post was or will be offered to YSRCP, and said he had congratulated him and discussed matters related to the development of the state.
YSRCP, which stormed to power in Andhra Pradesh with a landslide majority, had won 22 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state. They are also the fourth largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha after the Congress and the DMK. Both the parties have declined the Deputy Speaker post.
If the post has indeed been offered to YSRCP, the BJP will be doing so upsetting their ally Shiv Sena. Sanjay Raut the Rajya Sabha MP of the Shiv Sena from Maharashtra had earlier this week told reporters that the Deputy Speaker post is their "natural claim" and "right" but the party has not been offered the post.
The previous Deputy Speaker post for the 16th Lok Sabha was held by M Thambidurai of the AIADMK, which was routed in the Lok Sabha Elections.
The 17th Lok Sabha is scheduled to begin on June 17 and the Speaker position is expected to be elected soon after the new lawmakers take the oath.
With IANS inputs