Even as speculation over who will be the next Speaker continue, Opposition INDIA bloc has emphasised that the crucial post in the Lok Sabha should be allocated to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners – the Janata Dal (United) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

Why Speaker’s Post Matters this time?

Unlike in the previous two PM Modi-led governments in which the BJP enjoyed outright majority, the third Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi relies on its allies.

The BJP won 240 Lok Sabha seats, 32 short of the majority mark, in the recently-concluded Lok Sabha Elections 2024, the results of which were announced on June 4. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu’s Naidu’s TDP and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD-U won 16 and 12 seats respectively, emerging as key stake-holders in the new PM Modi-led government.

What do the allies say?

While TDP leaders have said the candidate must be jointly decided by NDA partners, JD(U) leader KC Tyagi has indicated that the party might as well support the candidate nominated by the BJP.

How is the Lok Sabha Speaker elected?

The rules for electing the Speaker are laid down in Article 93 of the Constitution. The Speaker’s post falls vacant just before the new Lok Sabha meets for the first time, which means June 24 in the present case.

As per the process, before the Parliament session begins, the President appoints a Pro-tem Speaker to administer the oath of office to the newly elected Members of Parliament (MPs). In the session beginning June 24, the first two days – June 24 and June 25 – will be dedicated to oath-taking of the newly-elected Lok Sabha MPs. June 26 has been fixed for electing the new Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The notices for motions supporting the candidates have to be submitted by members of the house before 12 noon on June 25 – a day prior to the elections.

A Lok Sabha Speaker is elected by a simple majority. This means more than half of the members present in the house have to vote for a particular candidate to become the Speaker of Lok Sabha.

There are no criteria as such for a speaker to be appointed. Sumitra Mahajan and Om Birla, both BJP leaders, were the Speakers in the last two Lok Sabhas – 2014- 2019 and 2019-2024.

The Powers of a Lok Sabha Speaker?

The Speaker is a crucial position in the Lok Sabha as he/she is responsible for running the House. The Speaker also decides the agenda for parliamentary meetings and allows motions such as adjournments, no-confidence, to name a few.

In case there is any dispute regarding the rules of the House, the Speaker interprets and applies these rules, which cannot be challenged. Since the House has members from ruling and opposition parties, the Speaker’s chair has to be non-partisan.

The role assumes even more significance since the Speaker is also an elected member of the Lok Sabha, representing a particular party. Yet there were some occasions when Speakers quit the party before assuming the role. N Sanjiva Reddy, for example, resigned from the Congress after he was elected Speaker of the fourth Lok Sabha in March 1967.

Since the BJP relies on its allies, there could be a situation where the government faces a crisis on the floor of the House. In such a scenario, it is the Speaker of the House whose role comes into play.

The Speaker also has the power to punish unruly behavior and even disqualify members on grounds of defection under the 10th schedule of the Constitution.

The Frontrunners?

Some reports suggested that Om Birla will continue to be the Lok Sabha speaker. Birla won Lok Sabha Elections 2024 as a BJP candidate from Kota, Rajasthan.

Birla said on June 16, that it was for political parties to decide the new Speaker and Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha. NDA leaders met at Defence Minister Rajnath Singh‘s residence in the national capital and discussed the election for Speaker and Deputy Speaker on June 16.

Among the other names doing rounds for the Speaker’s post is that of Daggubati Purandeswari. Daughter of TDP founder NT Rama Rao, Daggubati Purandeswari is a BJP politician from Andhra Pradesh and also the state’s party president.

Purandeswari has served as MoS in the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2009 and MoS in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2012.Purandeswari won the just-concluded Lok Sabha Elections from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh by over 2.3 lakh votes. She has perhaps not been included in the Union cabinet since she might become the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

Purandeswari’s election as the Speaker may please TDP chief Naidu. Naidu’s wife, Nara Bhuvaneswari and Purandeswari are sisters. Purandeswari was a special guest during Naidu and his cabinet’s oath-taking last week in Andhra Pradesh.

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Published: 17 Jun 2024, 11:27 AM IST

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