The BJP’s surprise pick – Om Birla – is all set to become next 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.
A notice was given to the Lok Sabha Secretariat by the BJP, proposing the name of Om Birla, a two-time MP from Kota-Bundi seat in Rajasthan, for the Speaker’s post and bringing a motion for his election, which will be held on Wednesday.
As per sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed 57-year-old Birla’s name for the post. The Rajasthan leader is considered to be close to both PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
Om 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 Mr 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 Mr Birla’s candidature as the Speaker.
Mr Chowdhury also said the Congress has already moved a motion supporting the ruling party candidate.
The decision to support Om Birla’s nomination was taken at a meeting of the UPA allies, where the leaders also discussed the opposition strategy during the Parliament session.
Om 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.
Om 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 Lok Sabha Speaker and after his death in a helicopter crash in 2002, Shiv Sena leader and first-time MP Manohar Joshi was appointed to the position.