Om Birla elected LS Speaker

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Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi extends wishes to Birla and accompanied him to the chair along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju and PM…reports Asian Lite News

National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate and MP from Kota, Om Birla has been elected as the Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The motion moved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seconded by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was adopted by the house through a voice vote.

The house echoed with ‘Ayes’ and ‘Noes’ and the pro-tem speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab declared Om Birla as the Speaker of the lower house. The opposition which had filed K Suresh as the Speaker candidate of the INDIA bloc did not press fro a division vote.

Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi also extended wishes to Birla and accompanied him to the chair along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju and PM Modi.

After the INDIA bloc fielded K Suresh as its candidate, the appointment of Speaker became interesting as the election was held for the first time in decades.

Traditionally, the Lok Sabha Speaker and Deputy Speaker are elected through consensus between the ruling party and the Opposition.

The contest between BJP’s Om Birla, a three-time MP from Kota in Rajasthan, and Kodikunnil Suresh, an eight-term parliamentarian from Kerala’s Mavelikara came after the NDA refused to accept the opposition INDIA bloc’s demand that the Deputy Speaker’s position be left for the Opposition in exchange for its support to the NDA nominee.

The NDA, which commands 293 MPs in the 543-member Lok Sabha, was able to demonstrate its clear majority to ensure that Om Birla returns to the chair he held in the 17th Lok Sabha.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha began on June 24 and will conclude on July 3. The 264th Session of Rajya Sabha will commence on June 27 and conclude on July 3. On June 27, President Murmu is scheduled to address a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament.

Modi lauds Birla

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday extended his wishes to Om Birla for being elected as the Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha and said that it is a huge responsibility to sit in this post for the second time during the Amrit Kaal.

Modi also asserted that the decision taken in the 17th Lok Sabha under the presidency of Om Birla will be considered a golden period in parliamentary history.

“Respected Speaker, it is the good fortune of the House that you are occupying this chair for the second time. I congratulate you and the entire House. I want to congratulate you on behalf of the House. It is a huge responsibility for you to sit on this post for the second time during the Amrit Kaal. With your experience, we hope that you will guide us for the next 5 years,” he said.

“Becoming the Speaker for the second time is a record in itself. Balram Jakhar got the opportunity to serve as the Speaker for the second term after competing for five years and today you are doing the same. The way you work as an MP is worth learning. Your style will inspire our young MPs,” Modi added.

Further, the Prime Minister said that the 17th Lok Sabha has played an important role in giving direction to the future of India.

“The historical decisions taken in the Parliament under your chairmanship are a legacy of the Parliament and also of you. In future when there will be analysis regarding the 17th Lok Sabha, it will be written that the 17th Lok Sabha under your chairmanship has played a very important role in giving a new direction to the future of India,” Modi said.

‘Be impartial, defend Constitution’

Meanwhile, leaders of the Opposition also congratulated the Speaker, but added a sharp message that the Opposition must be allowed to speak, as they too represent the voice of the people.

“I am confident that you will allow us to speak. The question is not how efficiently the House is run. The question is how much of India’s voice is being allowed to be heard. So the idea that you can run the House efficiently by silencing the voice of the Opposition is a non-democratic idea. And this election has shown that the people of India expect the Opposition to defend the Constitution,” said Rahul Gandhi, who is now the Leader of the Opposition. Several leaders from the Opposition benches also brought up the mass suspension of MPs in the last term in their congratulatory messages. 

This was only the third election for the Lok Sabha Speaker after Independence. The voting took place after the Congress forced a contest and fielded its eight-time MP K Suresh as a challenger. The numbers, however, were clearly on Mr Birla’s side. While the NDA candidate had the support of 297 MPs, the Opposition pick had 232.

The Lok Sabha Speaker is generally chosen with consensus. This time, the government had reached out to Opposition parties for their support. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had then responded that it will support the NDA candidate if the Deputy Speaker is appointed from the Opposition benches.

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