NK Premachandran
NK Premachandran

Will contest for speaker's post if govt does not build consensus: NK Premachandran

New Delhi | RSP MP NK Premachandran said on Monday that the opposition could field a candidate for the post of speaker if the government does not make any effort to build a consensus on its choice for the key position.

On a day opposition leaders refused to be a part of the panel to assist the pro-tem speaker, the MP from the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) -- which is part of the INDIA bloc -- said the practice is that the government holds discussions to build consensus around the post of speaker.

"Normal practice is that the government has to discuss with opposition parties to have a consensus candidate for speaker, though they have a majority. So far, nothing has come from the government. If there is no consensus, definitely we will contest for the posts of speaker and deputy speaker," Premachandran told PTI.

The BJP has begun consultations with its allies on the ruling National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) candidate for the speaker's post while the opposition INDIA bloc is considering its options and may force a contest to score political points, sources said on Monday, a day before the filing of nominations for the key position.

The NDA, which enjoys a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, gave little indication about its choice as it weighs its options and looks to deny the opposition any opportunity to mount a political attack.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and Union minister K Rammohan Naidu told reporters that the alliance's leaders, including his party's president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, will take a decision on the matter, adding that no final decision has been conveyed to them yet.

Premachandran also slammed the government for appointing seven-term MP Bhartruhari Mahtab as pro-tem speaker, overlooking K Suresh of the Congress, who is in his eighth term in the Lower House.

"Pro-tem speaker ... It is a convention of the House that the senior-most member is nominated as pro-tem speaker. Only because K Suresh belongs to the opposition party, he was not nominated as pro-tem speaker. It is unfair and against convention," the RSP MP said.

"That is why we wanted to register our protest, that is why we have come with (copies of) the Constitution. No member from the opposition is in the panel," he said.

On Monday, Suresh, the DMK's TR Baalu and the TMC's Sudip Bandyopadhyay skipped taking oath as members of the panel of chairpersons to assist the pro-tem speaker.

Suresh later took oath as MP with other Congress members from Kerala.

BJP begins consultations, Oppn weighs options

New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) The BJP has begun consultations with its allies on the ruling NDA's candidate for the Lok Sabha Speaker's post while the opposition INDIA bloc is considering its options and may force a contest to score political points, sources said on Monday, a day before the filing of nomination for the key position.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which enjoys a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, gave little indication about its choice as it weighs its options and looks to deny the opposition any opportunity to mount a political attack.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and Union minister K Rammohan Naidu told reporters that the alliance's leaders, including his party's president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, will take a decision on the matter, adding that no final decision has been conveyed to them yet.

A leader of another BJP ally said on the condition of anonymity that the BJP leadership has held consultations with him. He declined to discuss the details.

With the theme of continuity marking much of its choices since it returned to power for a third term, there is a view in a section of NDA leaders that Om Birla, who was the Speaker in the previous Lok Sabha, may be nominated again. However, there was no official word on such a prospect.

Several opposition leaders said they will take a call on whether their alliance will name its candidate for the Speaker's post and force a contest depending on the NDA's stand.

Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) MP NK Premchandran said the opposition may contest for the Speaker post if the government does not make any effort to build consensus on the candidate.

On a day when the opposition leaders refused to be a part of the panel to assist the pro-tem speaker, the RSP MP, a part of the INDIA bloc, said the practice is that the government holds discussions with parties to build consensus on the candidate for the Speaker's post.

The opposition stayed away from the panel after seven-term MP Bhartruhari Mahtab from the BJP was made the pro-tem speaker, skipping K Suresh of the Congress who is serving his eighth term in the Lower House.

"We will likely decide after we are told about the NDA's nominee," a leader said, adding that the opposition may name an MP from a socially weaker community depending on who is in the fray from the ruling camp.

The NDA has 293 MPs while the opposition INDIA bloc has 234 MPs in the 543-member Lok Sabha. A few independent MPs have announced their support to the Congress but the ruling alliance has a clear majority in the House.