NDA nominates two-time BJP MP Om Birla for Lok Sabha Speaker post

  • NDA nominates two-time BJP MP Om Birla for Lok Sabha Speaker post

NDA nominates two-time BJP MP Om Birla for Lok Sabha Speaker post

National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Om Birla was on Wednesday unanimously elected speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha and pledged impartial oversight of the Lower House over the next five years after an acrimonious general election.

The name of 56-year-old Birla was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters in Delhi.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA), led by the Congress, has also chose to support Birla's candidature, senior Congress leader from West Bengal Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, according to the Press Trust of India. Besides, he also had the backing of YSRCP's 22 MPs and BJD's 12 MPs. Congress and N Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party have not given any confirmation to support the candidature of NDA candidate.

Birla, who won his first Lok Sabha election in 2014 and was re-elected from Rajasthan's Kota-Bundi seat.

The BJP's surprise pick -Om Birla- is all set to become next Lok Sabha Speaker after his candidature on Tuesday was backed by all NDA allies as also by the YSR Congress Party, the Biju Janata Dal and key opposition parties, including the Congress.

However, this is not the first such case.

Before this, Balram Jakhar was Speaker between 1980-1989 in his first and second terms respectively.

Birla has been MLA from Rajasthan thrice and MP twice. Born on November 23, 1962, he started his political career as a student and is known to be close to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).

Modi, who escorted Birla to the speaker's chair, was effusive in his praise of the Rajasthan leader for his track record in public service, recalling how he had spent months in Kutch, Gujarat, after the devastating 2001 natural disaster in the state, and spoke about his initiative to make sure no one sleeps hungry in Kota. During his tenure in 2003-08, he was the Parliamentary Secretary (MoS rank) in Rajasthan Government. While he refused to comment on what transpired during the meeting, his wife Amita Birla was more forthcoming and expressed happiness on the development.

The BJP also reached out to the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) seeking their support for Birla.

"This gives a strong message to party cadre - work hard and you shall be rewarded", he added.