Om Birla wins first election for Lok Sabha Speaker's post in about five decades

The contest -- a first in 48 years -- came after the Opposition accused the ruling National Democratic Alliance of snubbing them
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Om Birla after the latter was elected as the Speaker of the House during the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 26, 2024. Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kiren Rijiju are also seen.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Om Birla after the latter was elected as the Speaker of the House during the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 26, 2024. Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kiren Rijiju are also seen.Photo | PTI

Three-time MP Om Birla of the BJP has returned as Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha after defeating Kodikunnil Suresh in the election to the post on Wednesday.

Suresh is an eight-time Congress MP from Kerala's Mavelikara and the member who has won the most number of elections in the current Lok Sabha.

The contest -- a first in 48 years -- came after the Opposition accused the ruling National Democratic Alliance of snubbing them by refusing to yield the Deputy Speaker's post.

"In the last two Lok Sabhas, they had denied us Deputy Speaker’s post because they said you are not recognised as the opposition. Now (that) we are recognised as the opposition, the deputy speaker post is our right. But they are not ready to give it to us," Suresh, who was said to be the INDIA bloc's choice for the post and who later took on Birla, had explained on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Om Birla after the latter was elected as the Speaker of the House during the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 26, 2024. Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kiren Rijiju are also seen.
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The motion to elect Om Birla to the chair was moved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was adopted by a voice vote with the pro-tem Speaker announcing that the Ayes have it.

The first speech after Om Birla stepped into the chair was made by the Prime Minister who told the beaming speaker that it is an honour for the House to have him in the chair for a record second term.

The Prime Minister expressed the hope that Om Birla's five years of experience as the Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha will help him steer the House in the right direction and lead it to newer heights.

The leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi too congratulated the Speaker. He hoped that Om Birla would ensure the voice of Opposition is allowed to be represented in the House and the proceedings will be conducted in a spirit of cooperation.

"The question is not how efficiently the House is run, but how clearly the voice of India is heard. This election has shown that the people of India want us to defend the Constitution of India. I would like to once again congratulate you, Speaker sir, and all the members of the House," Rahul said.

Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, a first-time MP, also congratulated the Speaker.

"You are like the Chief Justice of of the court of democracy. We expect that the voice of no public representative will be suppressed and actions like suspensions which hurt the dignity of the House will not be taken," he said.

Sudip Bandhopadhyay, TMC MP, while congratulating the Speaker reminded him that "despite your good nature you are sometimes forced to bow down to the ruling party's diktats".

The suspension of around 150 MPs (100 Lok Sabha MPs) happened under your watch, Bandhopadhyay reminded the Speaker, who smiled noddingly as he always does.

Bandhopadhyay ended his speech by observing the hope that the Opposition will be given its space and there will be proper debate on bills brought before the Lok Sabha.

DMK's TR Baalu in congratulating the Speaker hoped that he will stay "impartial, impartial, impartial".

61-year-old Om Birla, who is an MP from Rajasthan's Kota known famously and infamously for its coaching factories, hails from a third-generation RSS family. He was an MLA in the Rajasthan assembly before that.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Om Birla after the latter was elected as the Speaker of the House during the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, in New Delhi, Wednesday, June 26, 2024. Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kiren Rijiju are also seen.
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