First election of Lok Sabha Speaker in about 5 decades today

TMC leaders said they will co-operate with the Opposition on the Speaker’s election. However, the final call will be taken on Wednesday.
Eight-time MP from Kerala, Kodikunnil Suresh and third time MP Om Birla.
Eight-time MP from Kerala, Kodikunnil Suresh and third time MP Om Birla.Photos | PTI

NEW DELHI: With Parliament set to see an unprecedented election for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker on Wednesday, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), an ally of the INDIA bloc, is keeping the Opposition on the edge as the party is yet to reach a final decision on the matter.

While the BJP-led NDA nominated third time MP Om Birla for the Speaker’s post for the second consecutive term, the Opposition forced an election by nominating the eight-time MP from Kerala, Kodikunnil Suresh, as its candidate after the talks between both sides failed to reach a consensus.

At a late evening INDIA bloc meeting, TMC leaders said they will co-operate with the Opposition on the Speaker’s election. However, the final call will be taken on Wednesday.

Eight-time MP from Kerala, Kodikunnil Suresh and third time MP Om Birla.
Unusual for Speaker and Deputy Speaker to be from same party, says noted Constitutional expert

The meeting was attended by several top leaders of the INDIA bloc, including Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, Kalyan Banerjee, RSP’s N K Premachandran and CPM’s K Radhakrishnan. A senior Opposition leader who attended the meeting told this paper, “Though other parties, including the Congress, have issued a whip to their MPs for the election, the TMC said that they will convey their decision tomorrow after more consultations. But they have assured that they will cooperate with the Opposition in the Speaker election,” he said.

Eight-time MP from Kerala, Kodikunnil Suresh and third time MP Om Birla.
Consensus on Speaker's post unlikely after Rahul Gandhi lashes out at PM Modi for snub

Earlier, TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee complained that the Congress unilaterally decided to put up K Suresh as the INDIA bloc’s candidate for the post without consultation.

A brief interaction involving Congress leader K C Venugopal and DMK’s T R Baalu and Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and J P Nadda, at Singh’s office in Parliament to evolve a consensus ended in acrimony as both sides stuck to their positions.

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “Union minister Rajnath last evening said that he will call back our president Mallikarjun Kharge on our demand on the Deputy Speaker post. However, Rajnath ji has not returned the call. PM Modi says that there should be constructive cooperation and then our leader is being insulted. So their intention is clear,” he said. Later, Venugopal accused the government of not following the “convention” of an opposition candidate for the Deputy Speaker’s position.

Oppn demanded Dy Speaker post

The last election for Speaker was in 1976. The INDIA bloc’s made a last minute decision to go for the contest after senior BJP leaders refused to accept its precondition that the Opposition must be offered the post of Deputy Speaker in lieu of supporting Birla.

Eight-time MP from Kerala, Kodikunnil Suresh and third time MP Om Birla.
All eyes on Lok Sabha Speaker election as Om Birla and Kodikunnil Suresh vie for position

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