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Rajnath Singh reaches out to Opposition to build consensus on Lok Sabha Speaker's post

New Delhi: With the deadline for the nomination to the post of Lok Sabha Speaker approaching, senior cabinet minister Rajnath Singh has been reaching out to Opposition leaders on behalf of the government in a bid to build consensus for the post of Speaker and deputy Speaker of the Lower House of Parliament, sources have said.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju has also been reaching out to opposition leaders.
If the Opposition INDIA bloc announces its candidate for the post, it will be the first time that elections will be held for the Speaker of the lower house. Since independence, the Lok Sabha Speaker and deputy Speaker have been elected by consensus between the ruling party and the opposition.
While the ruling alliance has not named its Speaker candidate, there is speculation that Om Birla, who was the Speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha, may be nominated for the post. Pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab is also seen as a possible frontrunner.
The nomination process will be held today and the elections will be held on June 26. Amid the row over the appointment of Bhartruhari Mahtab as pro-tem speaker, INDIA bloc leaders on Monday carried out a protest holding copies of the Constitution inside the Parliament premises in the national capital.
Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi, and party chief Mallikarjun Kharge took part in the protest. The position of Deputy Speaker that remained vacant in the last term is traditionally given to the Opposition.
Speaking on the issue Congress MP K Suresh said the BJP has not taken any initiative to reach a consensus on the position.
"The Speaker should be elected unanimously...According to the tradition of the House, the Speaker is elected unanimously. The BJP is not discussing with the opposition, they have to take the initiative for consensus. Till now, they have not taken any initiative to reach consensus for the post of Speaker. If there is no election for the post of Speaker, then the Deputy Speaker will come to the opposition. The leaders of the INDIA alliance have already made their stand clear," K Suresh said.
Earlier, the Revolutionary Socialist Party's Lok Sabha MP, NK Premachandran, said that the INDIA bloc will field candidates for the Lok Sabha Speaker and Deputy Speaker elections.
"Definitely, we will contest the Speaker post as well as the Deputy Speaker post. Let the government come out with their opinion on whether they are going to discuss with the opposition parties so as to have a consensus on the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, and then we will think of it. Otherwise, we will definitely contest," Premchandran told ANI .
The BJP however, feels the opposition is just trying to disrupt proceedings as they do not have the numbers to ensure the speakers election
BJP MP Khagen Murmu said, "...How will they make their own Speaker? When the Presidential election took place, they (the opposition) contested but it did not benefit them... Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi is working for all the people, for the benefit of the country, so to stop that these people are doing all this in the House..."
The Lok Sabha Speaker will be elected on June 26. On June 27, President Murmu is scheduled to address a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament.The NDA, which has 293 MPs in the 543-member Lok Sabha, enjoys a clear majority, with the opposition INDIA. bloc having 234 MPs.

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