Om Birla vs K Suresh: Lok Sabha heads for ‘historic’ election for Speaker’s post


The Lok Sabha is set to witness an unprecedented election for the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post on June 26 after the ruling BJP-led NDA and the opposition INDIA bloc failed to reach a consensus on the candidate.

The NDA has re-nominated BJP MP Om Birla as its candidate while the opposition has decided to field veteran Congress leader and eight-time MP K Suresh.

Earlier, Congress leader K C Venugopal and DMK’s T R Baalu walked out of defence minister Rajnath Singh’s office, refusing to endorse NDA candidate Birla without being offered the deputy speaker’s position.

Notably, the lower house has never seen an election for the Speaker’s post since India’s independence. The last time such an election took place was in 1946.

If elected, which is likely since NDA has the requisite numbers, Birla will be the first Lok Sabha Speaker to continue for a second term in 35 years.

Birla had won the Kota Lok Sabha seat by a margin of more than 41,000 votes in the general elections. Meanwhile, KSuresh (68) is an MP from Kerala’s Mavelikara and the longest-serving member of Parliament.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju tried to build a consensus on the Lok Sabha Speaker candidate after the opposition INDIA bloc said it was considering its options.

According to reports, the Deputy Speaker’s post would have gone to the opposition if a consensus was reached on the NDA’s candidate for Lok Sabha Speaker.

A senior Congress insider told Moneycontrol said the Opposition will field its own candidate for the Speaker’s position after the talks on a common candidate couldn’t come through. All Speakers so far have been elected unanimously and an election, if it happens, will be a first.

According to the Congress insider,  the election of the Speaker is not that much about the requisite numbers as it is about the Opposition’s “deemed” voice that must be heard and respected.

Earlier, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said party chief Mallikarjun Kharge had received a call from Rajnath Singh to extend support to the NDA candidate.

According to Gandhi, as per convention, the post of Deputy Speaker should be given to the opposition.