Rahul Gandhi and PM Modi Congratulate Om Birla on Re-Election as Lok Sabha Speaker

#Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi congratulated Om Birla.

New Delhi: Om Birla, a three-time BJP MP, was elected Lok Sabha Speaker for the second consecutive time today, winning the election by a voice vote as the NDA candidate. In a rare display of camaraderie, Leader of the Opposition Rahul Gandhi congratulated Mr. Birla and shook hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

As the House applauded Mr. Birla’s election, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju escorted him to the Speaker’s chair. The Prime Minister praised Mr. Birla, saying his “sweet smile keeps the entire House happy” and that it is an honor for him to be elected to this chair for the second time.

Opposition leaders also congratulated the Speaker but emphasized that the Opposition must be allowed to speak, as they too represent the voice of the people. Rahul Gandhi expressed confidence that the Speaker would allow the Opposition to speak, highlighting that the question is not how efficiently the House is run but how much of India’s voice is allowed to be heard. He stressed that silencing the Opposition is a non-democratic idea and that the election shows the people’s expectation for the Opposition to defend the Constitution. Several Opposition leaders also mentioned the mass suspension of MPs in the last term during their congratulatory messages.

This was only the third election for the Lok Sabha Speaker after Independence. The election saw Congress field its eight-time MP K Suresh as a challenger, but the numbers favored Mr. Birla. The NDA candidate had the support of 297 MPs, while the Opposition candidate had 232.

The Lok Sabha Speaker is usually chosen by consensus. This time, the government had reached out to Opposition parties for support. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge had responded that they would support the NDA candidate if the Deputy Speaker was appointed from the Opposition benches. However, the government made it clear that they were not considering a Deputy Speaker post or the Opposition’s claim to it for now. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju explained that the processes for electing the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are different and should not be combined.

Yesterday, Mr. Gandhi criticized the government, alleging that the Prime Minister speaks of cooperation but acts differently. He mentioned that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who was reaching out to Opposition parties for support, did not follow up with Mr. Kharge.

It should be noted that the Deputy Speaker’s post, traditionally given to an Opposition MP, was vacant in the last Lok Sabha. In the previous Lok Sabha, the BJP had named its ally AIADMK’s M Thambi Durai to the position.

Shruti Suman

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