NEW DELHI — The BJP’s surprise pick — Om Birla —was elected as the new Lok Sabha Speaker after his candidature on Tuesday was backed by all NDA allies as also by the YSR Congress Party, the Biju Janata Dal and key opposition parties, including the Congress.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Birla in Parliament after he was elected. Birla succeeded Sumitra Mahajan as Lok Sabha speaker.
The BJP have a notice to the Lok Sabha Secretariat, proposing Birla’s name for the Speaker’s post and bringing a motion for his election. He is a two-time MP from the Kota-Bundi seat in Rajasthan.
Sources told PTI that Modi had proposed Birla’s name for the post. The Rajasthan leader is considered to be close to both Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
Birla’s surprise nomination is seen by many in the BJP as a message from the top leadership that the party will promote leaders who keep a low-profile and work at the ground-level.
BJD, YSRCP, JDU, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, National People’s Party, Mizo National Front, Lok Janshakti Party, AIADMK and Apna Dal have given the notice to support Birla’s candidature for the Speaker’s post, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters.
Later, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the party and the UPA allies have also decided to support the candidature of Birla as the Speaker.
Chowdhury also said the Congress has already moved a motion supporting the ruling party candidate.
The decision to support Birla’s nomination was taken at a meeting of the UPA allies, where the leaders also discussed the opposition strategy during the Parliament session.
Birla, who won his first Lok Sabha election in 2014 and was re-elected from Rajasthan’s Kota-Bundi seat. He defeated Congress’s Ramnaraian Meena with a margin of over 2.5 lakh votes in the recently concluded general elections.
He has also been elected to Rajasthan assembly for three consecutive terms in 2003, 2008 and 2013.
Birla will succeed eight-term MP Sumitra Mahajan as the Speaker, a post traditionally held by senior MPs.
However, this will not be for the first time a relative newcomer will hold the position. In 1996, TDP leader G M C Balayogi was also a two-time MP when he was elected as the LS Speaker and after his death in a helicopter crash in 2002, Shiv Sena leaders and the first-time MP Manohar Joshi was appointed to the position.
(with PTI inputs)