Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla during the recently concluded inaugural session of Parliament after the formation of the new government.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla during the recently concluded inaugural session of Parliament after the formation of the new government.Photo | PTI

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Birla took a dim view of disruptions in the Lok Sabha during its first session and said there has to be a difference between debates in Parliament and those on the streets.

KOTA/BUNDI: An indication of a "live and thriving democracy" is how Om Birla described the rare election to the post of Lok Sabha speaker, which he won in a voice vote against opposition candidate K Suresh.

The opposition had pushed for the poll by nominating Congress' Suresh against BJP's Birla, even as it did not press for a division of votes.

In an interview with PTI, Birla took a dim view of disruptions in the Lok Sabha during its first session after the formation of the new government and said there has to be a difference between debates in Parliament and those on the streets.

On radical Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh and terror funding case accused Engineer Rashid being elected to the House as Independents from Punjab's Khadoor Sahib and J-K's Baramulla while in jail, the Lok Sabha speaker said the two members have been chosen by the people.

"They have been chosen by the people and administered the oath as per the rules of procedure (of the Lok Sabha) and on orders of the courts," Birla told PTI while on a visit to his Kota parliamentary constituency in Rajasthan.

Asked about the rare election to the post of Lok Sabha speaker, Birla said, "These are signs of a live and thriving democracy."

The previous election for the post took place in 1976.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha from June 24 to July 3 witnessed tumultuous scenes with opposition members trooping into the Well of the House and raising slogans throughout Prime Minister Narendra Modi's over two-hour reply to the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address.

Opposition INDIA bloc parties attacked the BJP-led NDA over the NEET-UG paper leak row and the situation in Manipur among other issues. Both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha saw multiple adjournments.

Birla said that "agreements and disagreements are part of democracy."

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla during the recently concluded inaugural session of Parliament after the formation of the new government.
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"Diverse views are there. These should be there. The churning that happens due to diversity of views also helps the government in a constructive way. The government also gets to know the views of everyone. The more the views, the better," he said.

"But one thing is clear that the people of the country also expect some difference between the discussion in Parliament and the debates on the streets," the speaker said.

Birla is the first speaker in 25 years to be reelected as a Lok Sabha member for a second consecutive term.

Congress' Balram Jakhar completed two consecutive terms as the presiding officer of the House after being elected from Firozpur (Punjab) and Sikar (Rajasthan).

Birla said he has been re-elected from the same parliamentary constituency for three consecutive terms. He added that it has been his endeavour as speaker to ensure that MPs get an opportunity to put forth their views. The House also had a sitting till midnight, Birla said.

The speaker said a stronger opposition in the House was an opportunity to articulate the views of the people in a structured manner.

"These are not challenges but an opportunity. The people expect a strong opposition to articulate its views in a proper manner, and the entire House be unanimous on matters of national interests," Birla said to a question on an increased number of opposition members with Congress' Rahul Gandhi as the Leader of the Opposition.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla during the recently concluded inaugural session of Parliament after the formation of the new government.
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