Keeping with time-bound tradition, the Congress will offer the post of the Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker to the Opposition, well-placed sources have said.
Though the Congress is yet to finalise its candidate for the Speaker’s post, V. Kishore Chandra Deo, the fifth term 62-year old Scheduled Tribe Lok Sabha member from Aruku in Andhra Pradesh is a frontrunner for it.
The Speaker will be elected on June 3.
As the main Opposition, the deputy Speaker’s post would go the BJP’s way. “It will be good for Parliamentary democracy if the post is given to the Opposition,’’ said BJP’s Rajya Sabha member S.S. Ahluwalia, 57.
But there have been instances to the contrary. In 1985, the Congress as the ruling party had given the post to its then ally the AIADMK.
BJP sources said they haven’t yet heard from the Congress. Should the offer come, 66-year-old Sumitra Mahajan —MP from Indore — could be in the reckoning as a seventh term member.
Even before the Congress has decided on the speakership, a petitioner from Deo’s constituency has challenged his likely candidature, alleging that he is not an ST.
“He is a habitual petitioner with mala fide intention,’’ was Deo’s response.
The issue, he told the HT, was raised and dismissed thrice by an inquiry committee. Circumstantial evidence and documents like the Gazette of 1869 and 1907 listing his ancestors as belonging to the Konda Dora tribe were also presented to the Screening Committee (which vets the inquiry report) that met on May 22 this time.