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Ahead of Speaker election, NDA, Opposition bloc hold parallel meetings
Photo Courtesy: PIB

Ahead of Speaker election, NDA, Opposition bloc hold parallel meetings

| @indiablooms | 25 Jun 2024, 09:29 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: The Speaker's election scheduled on Wednesday might go in favour of the government with the numbers stacked up for the ruling NDA alliance. However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is not leaving any stone unturned to achieve the result in its favour.

Shah met with MPs and party leaders of the ruling alliance this evening and asked them to reach parliament by 10.30 Wednesday morning. He said attendance is mandatory.

The election of the Speaker, a first in decades, will take place at 11 am. To date, a Speaker has been chosen by consensus.

However, the Opposition, energised by their numbers in the Lok Sabha, has refused to accept the government's brush-off on the issue of the Pro Tem Speaker and the Deputy Speaker's post.

The Opposition initially expected Suresh to be the Pro Tem Speaker, a post that goes to the senior most member of the House. However, the government made it clear that they are not considering a Deputy Speaker post, or the Opposition's claim to it, for now.

With 10 minutes to go before today's deadline, the Congress filed papers fielding Suresh against the BJP's pick- Rajasthan MP Om Birla, who was the Speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha as well.

The numbers, as they stand now, do not favour the Opposition. The Speaker is elected by a simple majority of MPs present and voting.

The NDA can expect 293 votes to the Opposition bloc's 232.

Shah's meeting was attended by Bihar allies Chirag Paswan, JItam Ram Manjhi and a few others.

Most Opposition parties, too, have issued whips to ensure there is no absenteeism. A meeting was held at Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's home this evening, which the Trinamool Congress, initially miffed about not being consulted for the big step, was expected to attend.

Union minister Kiren Rijiju, who handles the Parliamentary Affairs portfolio, issued a last appeal for a consensus candidate. 

"For the last two days, we have been in contact with main Opposition parties, talked to their floor leaders regarding the post of Speaker. Since the Independence, there has not been an election for Speaker post. We want speaker to be elected unopposed and through consensus," he told reporters.
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The Congress and its leaders had joined the NDA meeting, he said but wanted an immediate decision on the deputy Speaker.

"We appealed to them to support the Speaker candidate but they demanded Deputy Speaker post. We said it is not right to conduct election for both Speaker and Deputy Speaker posts together. We want Speaker with consensus and then we will talk about the Deputy Speaker," he said.

Congress's Rahul Gandhi has alleged that though Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks of constructive support from the Opposition, he "does not want any constructive cooperation".

He cited an example stating that Union minister Rajnath Singh, shouldered the responsibility to build consensus on the Speaker post, did not call Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, which is "an insult to our leader".

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