NDA Picks Om Birla For Speaker Again, Sticks To Continuity

Lok Sabha speaker: The opposition INDIA bloc is unlikely to contest the post and the NDA nominee is likely to be elected unopposed, sources said.

Om Birla is NDA's pick for the Lok Sabha speaker post.

New Delhi:

After days of uncertainty over the Lok Sabha Speaker's post, the NDA has decided to nominate Om Birla for the post again. BJP's Om Birla was the Speaker in the previous Lok Sabha. Sources said that Mr Birla will file his nomination at 11.30 am today. (Live Updates)

The opposition INDIA bloc has fielded K Suresh against Mr Birla, the first time in decades elections will be held for the key post. A Lok Sabha Speaker is elected by a simple majority of MPs voting and all speakers until now had been elected with consensus.

The BJP, thanks to brute majorities after the 2014 and 2019 elections, was unchallenged in nominating Sumitra Mahajan and Om Birla to the post. This time, though, it doesn't quite have the numbers; Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party is the single-largest in Parliament with 240 seats but is 32 short of a majority, meaning it relies on Nitish Kumar's JDU and Chandrababu Naidu's TDP to remain in power.

The Opposition had said that they would back the NDA's choice of speaker in exchange for the deputy speaker's post. According to sources, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has made it clear to senior BJP leader and Union Minister Rajnath Singh that the Deputy Speaker should be from the Opposition benches. The Congress chief has said that while the Oppositions wants consensus too, healthy traditions must be followed, the sources added.

Earlier today, Mr Birla held talks with PM Modi ahead of day 2 of the Parliament.

Om Birla has been associated with the BJP since his early days as a student leader. He currently serves as an MP from the Kota-Bundi constituency in Rajasthan and was reelected for a second consecutive term in the recently held Lok Sabha elections. Previously, he served three terms as a legislator in the Rajasthan Assembly.

In 2019, Birla was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha, becoming the first MP from Rajasthan to hold the position. His selection was seen as a surprise by many, but he has been praised for his ability to take everyone along.

Mr Birla's opponent K Suresh secured his eighth consecutive victory in the Lok Sabha elections from Mavelikkara. He defeated CPI's emerging leader CA Arun Kumar by a narrow margin of 10,000 votes, one of the smallest in the state. Mavelikkara is a constituency where the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) dominates all seven Assembly segments.

Considered a top contender for the Kerala Congress chief position in 2021, Mr Suresh is currently a special invitee to the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party's highest decision-making body. He also serves as the working president of the Congress's Kerala unit and has previously held the role of All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary.