The 18th 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, reports suggest. The move, once official, will further escalate the opposition’s acrimony with the government in the coming days.

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.

An NDTV report quoted sources saying that the government will appoint a Deputy Speaker this time, and an announcement to this effect is expected soon.

By convention, if the Speaker is from the ruling party, as is the case in 18th 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.

NDA candidate On Birla won the Speaker’s election defeating INDIA bloc’s K Suresh. The results were predictable, given the numbers, but the Opposition wanted to send out a message.

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.

The NDTV report said that the TDP leader and MP from Amalapuram Lok Sabha constituency Harish Balayogi will be the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker. Harish’s father GMC Balayogi was the Speaker when the NDA under Atal Bihar Vajpayee was in power.

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.