Monday, 30th October 2017

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Support and bias alert for Om Birla

Suspense continued over the deputy Speaker’s selection

  • Published 20.06.19, 7:31 AM
  • Updated 20.06.19, 7:31 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Om Birla after being elected Speaker on Wednesday Picture by Prem Singh

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday unanimously elected BJP parliamentarian Om Birla as the Speaker, with the Trinamul Congress extending support at the last moment.

After the Treasury and Opposition benches had moved motions backing Birla’s candidature and proposed his name in the Lok Sabha, Trinamul’s House leader, Sudip Bandyopadhyay, stood up and sought to join in.

“Sir, give us also the opportunity to propose,” Sudip said. “Your notice hasn’t come,” pro-tem Speaker Virendra Kumar replied. “Sir, you have the capacity to allow us to propose,” Sudip pointed out. A little later, the Trinamul leader’s request was granted.

“I beg to move, ‘that Shri Om Birla, a member of this House, be chosen as the Speaker of this House’,” Sudip said, reading out the motion from Trinamul. This paved the way for the unanimous election of Birla as Speaker, with the principal Opposition Congress also supporting his candidature.

Suspense, however, continued over the deputy Speaker’s selection.

Showering praise on the newly elected Speaker as Birla took the Chair, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed him as a leader who had devoted himself to “jan seva” (public service).

“Public service has been the focal point of the politics of Om Birla. He is a compassionate leader who will preside over the House,” Modi said.

The Congress’s newly elected House leader, Adhir Chowdhury, assured the Lok Sabha of his party’s support in running the day-to-day affairs and stressed the need for the Speaker to play an “impartial” role in a parliamentary democracy.

“In Indian parliamentary democracy, we have multi-party democracy. So, along with the Treasury and the Opposition, there will be multi-partisanship, but you (Speaker) have to remain impartial,” Adhir said.

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi urged Birla to play the role of a “referee” and not become “part of the game”.

All House leaders of different parties spoke on the occasion to congratulate the newly elected Speaker. Many underlined the need for the Chair to give ample opportunity to the Opposition to raise issues in the House, particularly the smaller parties who get very little time because of their strength.

Birla said that now that the government had returned with a bigger mandate, its responsibilities too had increased. “It will be my expectation from the government that it will act with greater responsibility and transparency so that we can set an example before the country,” Birla said.

Addressing the Opposition, he assured support in raising relevant issues concerning the people but cautioned them against referring to unnecessary maters. “Our ideologies may be different but we all have come to this House so that our country progresses,” Birla said.

The Speaker lauded Modi and said that under his leadership the country had made a name for itself in the world. Birla urged the newly elected MPs to make the country’s parliamentary democracy great.