Who Will Be New Lok Sabha Speaker? BJP, Allies' Big Meet Today To Discuss

New Lok Sabha speaker: There are indications the BJP wants to name a key leader from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha - states it and its ally, the TDP swept - as the Lok Sabha Speaker as a 'thank you' to the respective voters.

Lok Sabha Speaker election expected to be held on June 26 (File).

New Delhi:

Negotiation over the post of Lok Sabha Speaker - a prized position allowing the party in the hot-seat to control House protocol and proceedings - resumes this evening with a meeting of union ministers and the ruling BJP's allies at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's Delhi home, sources have told NDTV.

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

A Lok Sabha Speaker is elected by a simple majority of MPs voting.

Mr Naidu, if not his Bihar counterpart too, has an interest in the post, but sources said that while the BJP knows it has to be more flexible than the past, it is unwilling to surrender the chair. Interest by the TDP (and the JDU, if unofficially) is attributed to the Speakers "absolute power in deciding cases pertaining to disqualification on ground of defection" - a useful ace to have in a possible mutiny.

There are indications the BJP wants to name key leaders from Andhra Pradesh and Odisha - D Purandeshwari and Bhatruhari Mahtab - two states the party-led NDA swept in this round of elections - as a 'thank you' to the state units.

READ | Speaker Name On June 26, Odisha, Andhra Leaders On List: Sources

Mr Mahtab is a former member of ex-Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal, which the BJP thumped in simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. Ms Purandeshwari is the boss of the saffron party's unit in Andhra Pradesh, and worked with the TDP to oust the then-ruling YSR Congress.

The latter choice could be the perfect 'in-between' for the BJP and the TDP, given she is Chandrababu Naidu's sister-in-law. There is also speculation Om Birla could return.

Nitish Kumar's JDU last week said will support the BJP's nominee.

For now the Congress' K Suresh, the rep from Kerala's Mavelikara, has been name the interim, or Pro Tem Speaker. Mr Suresh, the longest-serving MP in this House, will next week administer the oath to the new members and then adjourn the House till the 18th Speaker is appointed/elected.

Sources earlier told NDTV a final decision will be taken on June 26, when Mr Modi will table a motion to be backed by a fellow MP and accompanied by a letter confirming the nominee will serve.

READ | Lok Sabha Speaker's Election Expected On June 26

The return of coalition politics after a decade of a majority government brought with it hectic parley over 'rewards' to BJP allies, particularly the JDU and TDP. The division of ministerial berths was finished last week (to the satisfaction of most, if not all, allies) and the Modi 3.0 cabinet took oath.

As attention turns to naming the Speaker a canny opposition is now upping pressure on the TDP to lay claim, hoping to trigger rifts in the NDA government. The BJP needs the TDP's 16 and the JDU's 12 MPs to stay in power. Sans those 28, Mr Modi will be seven short of the 272-majority mark.

READ | Who Will Be Lok Sabha Speaker? Big Question After Modi 3.0 Begins

Meanwhile, there could also be a face-off over the Deputy Speaker's post, which has been vacant since 2019. The post is traditionally held by the opposition, but that is not required.

In 2014 the BJP named an alliance leader - the AIADMK's M Thambidurai - to the position, and could, this time, use it as compensation to the TDP or any other ally looking for the top job.

Sources have said, however, the opposition is keen on holding this job as an added counterbalance to the BJP government, and will push its claim. The BJP faces a stronger opposition now than in its first two terms, after multiple parties united behind the Congress and won 232 seats.

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