Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Chairs Key NDA Meeting To Discuss Speaker & Deputy Speaker Candidates

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Chairs Key NDA Meeting To Discuss Speaker & Deputy Speaker Candidates

The meeting at Singh’s residence was attended among others by Union ministers Manohar Lal Khattar, S Jaishankar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Kiren Rijiju, Bhupender Yadav, Annapurna Devi, and Virendra Kumar of the BJP, as well as Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’ of the JD(U) and Chirag Paswan of the LJP(RV).

Gaurav Vivek BhatnagarUpdated: Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 04:23 PM IST
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Union Minister Rajnath Singh | IANS

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday convened a meeting with several Union ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Janata Dal (United) and the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) to discuss the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidates for the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker and to also decide on the issues to be raised during the Vote of Thanks to the President’s Address during the upcoming first session of the 18th Lok Sabha. However, there was no announcement about the names of the NDA candidates for the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

The meeting at Singh’s residence was attended among others by Union ministers Manohar Lal Khattar, S Jaishankar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Kiren Rijiju, Bhupender Yadav, Annapurna Devi, and Virendra Kumar of the BJP, as well as Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’ of the JD(U) and Chirag Paswan of the LJP(RV).

A Similar Meeting Held At Union Home Minister Amit Shah's Residence

Earlier in the day, the BJP sent out a strong signal that it could retain Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla for the post when it convened a high level meeting at his residence chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah. The meeting was attended by BJP president JP Nadda, Parliament Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju and former Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi.

The presence of Rijiju and Joshi in this meeting indicated that it was more about how the party would manage the floor at the time of the elections of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker should the Opposition decide to contest the posts.

The meetings have been held ahead of the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha that would begin on June 24. The newly elected members will be administered the oath by the Pro-Tem Speaker on the first two days. On June 26, the Prime Minister would move the motion for the election of the Speaker. President Droupadi Murmu would address the House the next day.

INDIA Bloc's Demand

The Opposition INDIA bloc has already said it wants either the JD(U) or the Telugu Desam Party, which has the highest number of MPs after the BJP in the NDA, to field their candidate for the post of Speaker.

A couple of days ago, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut had stated that the bloc would support such a candidature. Congress leader Ashok Gehlot and Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh had also expressed similar sentiments.

In response to the demand of the Opposition parties, the JD(U) said it would support BJP’s candidate while the TDP said it wanted the next Speaker to be a consensus candidate. Various Opposition leaders have indicated that they would field their own candidate if a BJP candidate was nominated for the post.

The INDIA bloc has also demanded that the post of Deputy Speaker, which has remained vacant in the last two governments under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, be given to them in line with convention.

“We will force a contest for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker if the government does not agree to have an opposition leader as Deputy Speaker,” a senior Congress leader told a media house.

If there is an election for the post of Speaker, it would be the first time that the Opposition would be forcing such an event in the history of the Lok Sabha.

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