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Sharad Pawar insists on LS Dy Speaker post to Opposition, says it is "usual practice"

Mumbai: Amid a contentious debate over the appointment of the Lok Sabha Speaker, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar emphasised on Tuesday that according to tradition, the Speaker should be from the ruling party while the Deputy Speaker should come from the Opposition.
With consensus eluding the appointment of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Om Birla as the Lok Sabha Speaker, the opposition INDIA bloc has nominated Congress MP K Suresh for the position.
"The usual practice is that the ruling party holds the post of Speaker, and the Opposition holds the post of Deputy Speaker. During the past 10 years of the Modi government, the opposition was not given the post of Deputy Speaker," Sharad Pawar said while speaking to the media in Mumbai.
Pawar further mentioned that he had spoken with leaders of the INDIA bloc and suggested they communicate to the ruling party that consensus could be reached on the Speaker's appointment under the condition that the Opposition gets the post of Deputy Speaker.
"I had discussions with the leaders of the INDIA bloc. I suggested that they convey to the ruling party that consensus could be achieved regarding the Speaker's appointment, provided the post of Deputy Speaker is allocated to the Opposition," Pawar said.
"This is merely my suggestion to them (the INDIA bloc). Even I have no idea what the final decision will be," he added.
This will be the first time that elections are held for the Speaker of the lower house, as traditionally, the Lok Sabha Speaker and Deputy Speaker have been elected through consensus between the ruling party and the Opposition.
The opposition had been demanding the post of Deputy Speaker. With no clarity forthcoming from the BJP, the INDIA bloc has put forward Congress MP K Suresh's name for the Speaker's post.
On the other hand, the BJP has nominated its Kota MP Om Birla for the Speaker's post, who previously served as the Speaker in the 17th Lok Sabha.
Earlier, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that they had informed Rajnath Singh that the Opposition is prepared to support NDA's Speaker candidate, on the condition that the Deputy Speaker position is given to the opposition.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi said, "We have said to Rajnath Singh that we will support their Speaker (candidate) but the convention is that the post of Deputy Speaker is given to the Opposition."
Further elaborating on discussions between Rajnath Singh and Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul also criticised the treatment of opposition leaders, alleging disrespect.
"Today it is written in the newspaper that PM Modi has said that the Opposition should cooperate with the government constructively. Rajnath Singh called Mallikarjun Kharge and he asked him to extend support to the Speaker. The entire Opposition said that we would support the speaker, but the convention is that the Deputy Speaker post should be given to the opposition. Rajnath Singh said that he would call back Mallikarjun Kharge but he has not done that yet...PM Modi is asking for cooperation from Opposition but our leader is getting insulted," he said.
The elections for the speaker's post will be held on June 26. The NDA, which commands 293 MPs in the 543-member Lok Sabha, holds a clear majority, while the opposition INDIA bloc comprises 234 MPs.

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