Political showdown over election of Lok Sabha Speaker continues

Election to the post of the LS Speaker is slated for June 26.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut.
Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut.File photo| PTI

NEW DELHI: Days ahead of the first Parliament session, the political showdown over the selection of the Speaker for Lower House continued as Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday claimed the Opposition alliance INDIA bloc will support N Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said that if it fields its candidate for the Speaker's election. The new Lok Sabha Speaker election is scheduled for June 26, and the NDA partners are likely to meet on June 23 to decide the candidate. With 16 and 12 Lok Sabha seats, N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP and Nitish Kumar's JDU are crucial to the Modi-led NDA 3.0, as the BJP failed to secure a simple majority to form a government.

Responding to his remarks, TDP spokesperson K. Rammohan Rao told this newspaper that the NDA partners will sit together and decide the candidate for the Lok Sabha Speaker post. “All the partners of the NDA will have a meeting and a consensus candidate will be decided. Our leaders will take a call,” said Rao. However, the TDP leader was noncommittal whether the TDP claimed the post of the Speaker or not. “Whether we claimed the post or not, I can’t say,” he added.

The TDP’s position is at odds with the JD(U), which pledged to support the candidate nominated by the BJP for the Lok Sabha Speaker post. Speaking to this paper, JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said that by convention, the ruling party has the right to nominate the Speaker because its number is also the highest.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut.
Suspense looms as NDA allies hopeful of securing LS Speaker post; elections on June 26

“The statement by INDIA bloc leaders is mischievous and intended to create confusion among the NDA partners. The ruling BJP is the biggest party among the NDA partners and it will decide whether to nominate an NDA or a BJP candidate,” said Tyagi.

Talking to reporters, Sanjay Raut claimed that TDP wants to field its candidate for the upcoming Speaker's election.

"I hear the TDP wants to field its candidate. If that happens, INDIA bloc partners will discuss the issue and will try to ensure that all the INDIA alliance partners extend support to the TDP," he said. “Lok Sabha speaker's election will be crucial and if the BJP gets the post, it will break the government-supporting parties like the TDP, JD(U), and the political outfits of Chirag Paswan and Jayant Chaudhary. "We have the experience that BJP betrays the people who support it," Raut said.

Responding to the INDIA bloc’s claims that the BJP will break the TDP, Rao said there are no cracks in the alliance and it is stable. When asked about the TDP’s stand on contentious issues such as delimitation and the Uniform Civil Code, he said that consensus is important.

“We will discuss all contentious issues with the NDA partners. If required, there's nothing wrong with discussing with the opposition also. Consensus is more important. It is a two-way track. As partners, we support the decisions taken by the NDA government and vice versa,” said Rao.

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