Om Birla elected Lok Sabha speaker

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Om Birla was on Wednesday elected as the speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha after a voice vote.

It was not immediately clear if the Opposition MPs sought a division of votes as part of the election process.

While the ruling National Democratic Alliance nominated Birla for the post, the Opposition INDIA bloc had fielded Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh on Tuesday. This forced an election for the speaker’s position for the first time in several decades.

An election for the speaker’s post takes place only if the House does not elect a candidate unanimously.

Birla, the MP from Rajasthan’s Kota constituency, was the speaker during the 17th Lok Sabha between 2019 and 2024. Suresh is the MP from Kerala’s Mavelikara.

In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 240 seats. This was a significant fall from its tally of 303 seats in 2019. As it fell short of the majority mark of 272 seats, it had to depend on its partners in the National Democratic Alliance to form the government.

The Opposition INDIA bloc collectively has 232 seats in the Lower House.

Earlier on Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said that the Opposition alliance would have conditionally supported the National Democratic Alliance’s nominee.

“…the convention is that the deputy speaker post should be given to the Opposition,” Gandhi had said, reported ANI. “If the convention is followed, we will give full support to the speaker in the election.”

It was unclear as to who will become the deputy speaker. The position was vacant during the 17th Lok Sabha.

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