No consensus on Lok Sabha Speaker: INDIA bloc fields K Suresh against NDA’s Om Birla

The sudden development followed the NDA's refusal to give the Deputy Speaker post to Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge. Conventionally, the post of Deputy Speaker is held by the Opposition, a tradition the BJP has broken since 2014.
K Suresh and Om Birla
K Suresh and Om Birla
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For the first time since Independence, the Lok Sabha will see more than one candidate for the post of Speaker. The election, which is to be held on June 26, comes after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rejected the Opposition INDIA bloc’s demand for the Deputy Speaker post. The INDIA bloc will field senior Congress leader from Kerala, K Suresh against the BJP’s Om Birla. Lok Sabha Speakers have been chosen by consensus since Independence. 

The sudden development occurred after the NDA refused the Deputy Speaker post to Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge. Conventionally, the post of Deputy Speaker has been held by the Opposition, a tradition the BJP has broken since 2014.  In the first term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA, the Deputy Speaker post was given to an alliance member — AIADMK’s M Thambi Durai. Since the 2019 general elections, the post has remained vacant.

Speaking to media persons, Rae Bareli MP Rahul Gandhi said, “PM Modi has said that the Opposition should cooperate with the Union government constructively. Rajnath Singh called Mallikarjun Kharge and asked him to extend support to Om Birla as Speaker. The Opposition said that we would support the Speaker but the convention is that the Deputy Speaker post should be given to us. Rajnath Singh said that he would call back Mallikarjun Kharge but he has not done that yet. The PM is asking for cooperation from the Opposition when our leader is being insulted.”

K Suresh filed his nomination on June 25. He told the press that the post of Deputy Speaker is the Opposition's right, adding that INDIA bloc leaders had waited until 11.50 am for Rajnath Singh’s call, before making the decision to field their own candidate. 

 The election for the Speaker’s post will be held at 11:00 am on June 26.

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