TMC sought voting, Congress for consensus on Speaker election

Abhishek Banerjee claims to have sought division but Jairam Ramesh says otherwise; Rahul assures Oppn help to Speaker.
rime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi escort Om Birla to the chair 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.
rime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi escort Om Birla to the chair 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.Photo |PTI

NEW DELHI: The Opposition INDIA bloc constituents Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Congress appeared to be not on the same page on demanding a division of votes in the election for the Lok Sabha speaker on Wednesday.

While TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee said that the pro-tem speaker did not allow voting in the Speaker election even as several opposition MPs sought a division of votes, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh insisted that the INDIA bloc did not seek a division of votes.

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Banerjee said that, according to the rules, division of votes has to be allowed even if a single member demands it.

“The rule says that if any member of the House asks for division, the pro-tem speaker has to allow it. You can clearly see and hear from the footage of the Lok Sabha that several members of the opposition sought and asked for a division,” he said.

National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee Om Birla was elected Speaker after a motion moved by PM Narendra Modi was adopted through voice vote. Pro-tem speaker Mahtab made the announcement after the opposition, which had forwarded the name of eight-term Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh as its candidate, did not press for votes to the motion.

“The motion was adopted without putting it to vote. This is a clear testament to the fact that the ruling dispensation, the BJP, does not have the numbers ... This government is running without the numbers. It’s illegal, immoral, unethical and unconstitutional and the people of the country have already shown them the door. It’s just a matter of time before they’re shown the door again,” said the TMC MP.

However, Ramesh said the INDIA parties did not seek a division of votes in the Speaker’s election as they wanted to maintain a spirit of consensus and cooperation.

“INDIA parties exercised their democratic right and moved motions in support of Kodikunnil Suresh as Lok Sabha Speaker. Voice vote was taken. Thereafter, INDIA parties could have insisted on division,” Ramesh said in a post on X.

“They did not do so. This is because they wanted a spirit of consensus and cooperation to prevail, a spirit singularly lacking in the actions of the PM and the NDA,” he added.

Though TMC was initially non-committal on supporting Congress nominee Suresh, the party came around after a phone conversation between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee Tuesday night. TMC claimed they were not consulted by the Congress before nominating Suresh.

Responding to a question that the opposition did not press for a division of votes, Abhishek said, “The question is not about how strongly the division (of votes) was sought. The rule says that even if one out of 500 people ask for division, it has to be allowed.”

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