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    IndiaNo consensus on Lok Sabha Speaker, it’s NDA’s Om Birla vs Opposition’s...

    No consensus on Lok Sabha Speaker, it’s NDA’s Om Birla vs Opposition’s Suresh


    New Delhi: For the first time in 48 years, the will on Wednesday witness election for the post of Speaker after the opposition bloc fielded eight-term Congress MP K Suresh as a joint candidate against the ruling NDA's Om Birla.

    Will be Third such poll in LS history

    First election for Speaker was held in 1952 when Cong fielded GV Mavalankar. In 1976, Cong's BR Bhagat faced a contest. In both cases, the ruling party had won. This will be the third such election.

    Birla and Suresh on Tuesday filed their nomination after the government and the Opposition failed to reach a consensus for the post.

    This, after Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav publicly said they would support Birla if the Deputy Speaker's post, as per convention, was ceded to them.

    NDA leaders engaged with the Opposition made it clear that consensus on the constitutional post of the Speaker could not be conditional or a matter of quid pro quo.

    Suresh versus Birla will be the third election for the LS Speaker's post in the history of independent India. The first occasion arose in 1952 when the Congress fielded GV Mavalankar and the second in 1976 when Congress candidate Bali Ram Bhagat faced a contest. In both cases, the ruling party's nominee had won.

    Birla too has the numbers, with the government today managing the support of the YSRCP, a development that took NDA numbers to 297 — 240 of the BJP, 53 NDA allies and 4 of the YSRCP. “Some independents will also support the ruling nominee. We are expecting over 300 votes,” BJP strategists said after a meeting of the top brass in the Parliament chamber of Union Home Minister Amit Shah this evening.

    A parallel meeting of the INDIA bloc at the residence of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge discussed the Opposition strategy for Wednesday with the Congress issuing a three-line whip to MPs to be present. INDIA partners have 232 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

    The Speaker is elected by a simple majority and voice vote unless anyone seeks a division. The BJP said conventionally no whip was issued for the election, so it had refrained from doing so. The NDA, however, evolved a novel strategy for the election day with all its MPs set to gather for breakfast.

    “Top ministers will host MPs for breakfast at their homes or neutral venues on Wednesday. It will be an occasion to bond and educate new MPs on the procedure for the Speaker's election. After breakfast, everyone will come to Parliament together,” top BJP sources told The Tribune.

    Minister Rajnath Singh, who is also Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha, said he spoke to Kharge thrice since last night in a bid to build a consensus. Rahul said, “Rajnath Singh had called Kharge ji and said he would return his call, but he didn't. Modi ji says he wants constructive cooperation, but they are insulting our leader by not responding.”

    Union minister Piyush Goyal denied the charge. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju also countered the Congress, saying the government spoke to floor leaders of all Opposition parties. “The Speaker belongs not to a party, but the House and is elected unanimously. It is disheartening that the Congress has fielded its candidate. No election has ever taken place… This give and take for the posts is not right,” Rijiju said. The Tribune has learnt that DMK's TR Baalu had first agreed to support Birla, but later backtracked. Congress' KC Venugopal and Baalu had represented the Opposition in the meeting with Rajnath. After this meeting, K Suresh went on to file his nomination.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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