The National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) candidate, Om Birla has an edge over his Congress rival, K Suresh, as the former enjoys the backing of at least 293 MPs for the Lok Sabha Speaker election.

NDA candidate for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla.(Jitender Gupta )

This will be the fourth time in the history of the Lok Sabha that the Speaker is decided by way of election. Over the past few decades, there had been a convention that the Speaker would be nominated after achieving consensus in the House.

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For today’s election, odds are heavily stacked against the INDIA bloc’s candidate, K Suresh.

The BJP candidate has the backing of 293 NDA MPs. Four YSRCP MPs and independents may also back Om Birla.

On the other hand, the INDIA bloc has 233 members in the Lok Sabha. At least three independents will likely vote for Suresh, taking the effective number to 236. It might also get the support of some smaller outfits and independents.

Meanwhile, at least five of the INDIA bloc’s MPs could not take oath, reported NDTV.

These members include Shashi Tharoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Deepak Adhikari, Nurul Islam and Afzhal Ansari.

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It isn’t clear if they will be allowed to vote. If not, the majority mark in the House will come down, benefitting the ruling alliance.

Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress has said it was not consulted before announcing the candidature of K Suresh for the Speaker election.

However, K Suresh said the confusion cleared up on Tuesday night during the INDIA bloc’s meeting at Mallikarjun Kharge’s house.

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“Everything cleared up yesterday evening. Their leaders – Derek O’Brien and Kalyan Banerjee – attended the INDIA Alliance meeting last evening at Mallikarjun Kharge’s residence. We explained the situation, they could understand the situation and they will also cooperate with us,” he told ANI.

The INDIA bloc fielded Suresh after the government’s “non-committal” stance on their demand for the Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker post.

Per the BJP, the government told the INDIA bloc that they would discuss the Deputy Speaker post later but the latter insisted on fulfilling its precondition before securing support for Om Birla.

Elections for the speaker’s post have been held thrice before — the first time in 1952, when there was a contest between GV Mavalankar and Shankar Shantaram, then in 1967 between Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy and Opposition candidates Shankar Shantaram More, Tenniti Vishwanathan, Jagannatharao Joshi, and then in 1976, during the Emergency between Baligram Bhagat and Jagannath Rao. In all three cases, the ruling party’s nominees, Mavalankar, Bhagat and Reddy, emerged victorious.

With inputs from ANI, PTI