Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Om Birla was elected as the Lok Sabha Speaker on Wednesday after the ruling NDA and opposition INDIA bloc could not reach a consensus on choosing the lower house’s speaker. Prime Minister Narendra Modi moved the motion, which was adopted via voice votes.

After being elected as Lok Sabha Speaker, Birla condemned the then-Congress government’s decision to impose an Emergency in 1975 while appreciating people who opposed its implementation and fulfilled their responsibility of protectingIndian democracy.

“This House strongly condemns the decision to impose Emergency in 1975. Along with this, we appreciate the determination of all those people who opposed the Emergency, fought and fulfilled the responsibility of protecting the democracy of India. 25th June 1975 will always be known as a black chapter in the history of India,” he said.

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What PM Narendra Modi said

PM Modi congratulated Om Birla on his re-election as Lok Sabha Speaker, expressing confidence that he will guide parliamentarians and play a big role in the House, fulfilling people’s expectations. “Birla presided over a golden era in Lok Sabha’s history as many historic decisions were taken during its previous term,” he said.

“The works that didn’t happen during 70 years of independence, were made possible by this House under your chairmanship. Several milestones come in the long journey of democracy. A few occasions are such when we receive the opportunity to establish milestones. I am very confident that the country will be proud of the achievements of the 17th Lok Sabha,” PM Modi said.

“Becoming the Speaker for the second time is a record in itself. Balram Jakhar got the opportunity to serve as the Speaker for the second term after competing for five years and today you are doing the same. The way you work as an MP is worth learning. Your style will inspire our young MPs,” he added.

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What Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said

The BJP leader hoped that there will be criticism and disagreement in the House but no disruptions. “Treasury and opposition benches run the House together, the strength of Indian democracy is in listening to everyone, and running the House with everyone’s agreement. I will expect that I run the House with everyone’s agreement. Even if there is lone member from a party, they should get sufficient time,” he said.

“It will be my expectation that the House runs without obstruction. We are elected by people with hope, that is why I urge there should not be disruptions in the House. There can be criticism, but obstruction is not a tradition of the House. Rushing to the Well is not a tradition of Parliament,” Birla said.

“I never want to act against any member, but everyone wants the high standard of Parliamentary tradition to be maintained. For that I have to make tough decisions at times. I urge all that in the 18th Lok Sabha, while remembering the great architects of Constitution, we should make policies and laws that will help the downtrodden sections of the society,” he added.

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What INDIA bloc said

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while greeting Om Birla for being elected as Lok Sabha Speaker, took a jibe at the Modi-led central government, saying the Centre has “political power” but the opposition represents the voice of India’s people.

“I would like to congratulate you for your successful election that you have been elected for the second time. I would like to congratulate you on behalf of the entire Opposition and the INDIA alliance. This House represents the voice of India’s people and you are the final arbiter of that voice,” the Leader of Opposition said.

“The government has political power but the opposition also represents the voice of India’s people and this time, the opposition represents significantly more voice of the Indian… very important that cooperation happens on the basis of trust. It is very important that the voice of the Opposition is allowed to be represented in this House,” he said.

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Congratulating Om Birla for being elected as Lok Sabha Speaker, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav also stated that the INDIA bloc expects no expulsion this time during Parliament sessions and equal control on both sides, that is, opposition and ruling.

“…I congratulate you and extend you best wishes on behalf of all my colleagues. The post that you are occupying has glorious traditions attached to it. We believe that this will continue without any discrimination and as Lok Sabha Speaker you will give equal opportunities and respect to every member and party,” the SP chief said.

“Impartiality is a great responsibility of this great position…We expect that no public representative’s voice will be stifled, nor will an action like expulsion take place again. Your control is on the Opposition but it should be on the ruling side too. The House should function on your signals and not the other way round. We stand with all your just decisions…I hope that you would respect Opposition as much as you respect the ruling dispensation and let them present their side…,” Yadav added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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