NEW DELHI: The Opposition INDIA bloc will not contest the government on the issue of choosing the Speaker for the 18th Lok Sabha, since the BJP-led NDA has the required numbers on the floor of the House to install the Lok Sabha Speaker of its choice, according to opposition sources.
Hence, it is BJP, as the largest party in Lok Sabha, which can have its own Speaker and deputy speaker unless it decides to accommodate any of its allies.With the numbers stacked in its favour –240 seats – BJP is well placed to take the call.
Asked about the buzz on opposition parties considering contesting the Speaker’s post or even asking for the deputy Speaker’s chair, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien said, “There is no such demand from any opposition party. The BJP government led by Narendra Modi has been rejected, yet they (BJP) are trying to show that nothing has happened on the ground or nothing has changed in Modi’s new term. But this is an NDA government.”
Opposition sources claim that BJP has been creating the buzz about a contest for the Speaker’s post, to project that the party’s diminished numbers have not weakened it to an extent where it would have to yield to demands from other quarters, whether allies or opposition benches.
The Opposition parties are aware of the numbers in the House and hence there is no question for asking for any chair from the government, said sources in the INDIA bloc. On the contrary, the effort in the Opposition camp is to stand together with their increased bench strength and take on the NDA government led by Modi.
Opposition sources have denied several media reports about how the new NDA regime is seeking a consensus on the Speaker, given that the new Lok Sabha is set to choose a Speaker on June 26. The INDIA bloc of parties have not pitched for any candidate from their side, the sources said.