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The opposition INDIA bloc is likely to field Faizabad Member of Parliament (MP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Awadhesh Prasad for the post of Deputy Speaker in Lok Sabha, according to reports.

Prasad, a nine-time MLA, won the recently-held Lok Sabha Election 2024 by defeating Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) two-time MP Lallu Singh in the Faizabad Lok Sabha seat. Temple city Ayodhya – the site of Ram Temple – falls under Faizabad, one of the 80 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh.

The leaders from top opposition parties – Congress, SP and Trinamool Congress – have agreed on Prasad’s nomination for the post in Lok Sabha, according to a report in the Hindu. Akhilesh Yadav-led SP won 37 Lok Sabha seats, second only to Congress party’s 99 in 2024 general elections. 

The post of Deputy Speaker was vacant in the second term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in the 17th Lok Sabha. AIADMK’s M Thambi Durai was Deputy Speaker prior to that in 16th Lok Sabha.

NDA candidate On Birla won the Speaker’s election defeating INDIA bloc’s K Suresh. The results were not unexpected, given the numbers, but the Opposition wanted to send out a message.

By convention, if the Speaker is from the ruling party, as is the case in18th Lok Sabha, the Deputy Speaker is from the opposition. Buoyed by its increased strength in the Lok Sabha, the opposition INDIA bloc has been demanding the post of the Deputy Speaker. However, the government brushed off its demands since the Opposition forced a last-minute contest on the Speaker’s post.

The Lok Sabha will have a Deputy Speaker, but it will likely be from the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and not from the Opposition INDIA bloc, according to the sources. The move, once official, will further escalate the opposition’s acrimony with the government in the coming days.

What remains to be seen is whether the BJP will keep the Deputy Speaker post for itself or give it to its allies. The TDP and JD(U) – the two major NDA allies – have said they will not demand the post.

Article 93 of the Constitution mandates that the Lok Sabha shall, as soon as may be, choose a member to be the Deputy Speaker. However, it does not provide a specific time frame.

The post of Deputy Speaker was vacant in the second term of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in the 17th Lok Sabha. AIADMK’s M Thambi Durai was Deputy Speaker prior to that in 16th Lok Sabha.

In the two terms of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance(UPA) government between 2004 and 2014, the post of Deputy Speaker was offered to BJP MPs Charanjit Singh Atwal and Kariya Munda.