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Om Birla vs K Suresh: Speaker Election Highlights

The election for the post of Speaker – a rare event in the history of the Lok Sabha – will take place today, with a recharged Opposition forcing a contest. The numbers, though, appear to give the government an advantage.

Here are the top 10 updates on this big story

  1. The contest will be between the BJP’s Om Birla, three-time MP from Rajasthan’s Kota and the Speaker in the last Lok Sabha and Congress’s eight-term MP from Kerala’s Mavelikara, K Suresh. The BJP is seen to have picked Mr Birla to reinforce the message of continuity.
  2. The Speaker is elected by simple majority taking into account the number of MPs present and voting. Seven MPs – five from the Opposition and two Independents – have not taken oath and cannot vote, sources have said.  
  3. While the Opposition has 232 seats, the NDA has 293 MPs. It is also expected to have the support of the four MPs of YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress.
  4. Stage was set for the election on Tuesday, as the Congress made a snap decision to field K Suresh just 10 minutes ahead of the noon deadline.
  5. Its decision was fuelled by the BJP brush off for its hopes for the Pro Tem Speaker and the Deputy Speaker posts. The party had initially expected Mr Suresh to get the post of the Pro Tem Speaker, which finally went to the BJP’s Bhartruhari Mahtab.
  6. On Tuesday morning, the government, while seeking consensus for Om Birla, made it clear that they are not considering a Deputy Speaker post, or the Opposition’s claim to it, for now.
  7. Congress’s Rahul Gandhi said, “Rajnath Singh called Mallikarjun Kharge and asked him to extend support… entire Opposition said we will support but convention is Deputy Speaker should be from our side. Rajnath Singh said he would call back… but he has not yet…PM is asking for cooperation but our leader is getting insulted.”
  8. Tuesday evening passed in parallel meetings at both camps. While Union Home Minister Amit Shah met the NDA allies, the Opposition Bloc had their meeting at Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s house.
  9. Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has signalled that it did not approve the decision to force a contest. Regarding support for K Suresh, it will convey its decision by 9 am, the party has said.  
  10. Union minister Kiren Rijiju has 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… We want the Speaker to be elected unopposed and through consensus,” he said. 

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