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Cong to elect own speaker after 13 yrs

india Updated: May 20, 2009 01:18 IST
Varghese K George

After a gap of 13 years, the Congress will get to elect a Lok Sabha speaker from its own fold. The party had lost power in 1996 and when it returned in 2004, it had supported CPI-M member Somnath Chatterjee as the speaker.

Some reports suggest that Tamil ally Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has staked claim for the post, but the Congress is no mood to concede, said sources.

Kishore Chandra Deo and Sushil Kumar Shinde, party MPs from Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra respectively, are the two names doing the rounds as the potential Congress nominee to become the 15th Lok Sabha — expected to meet for its first session on June 2 — speaker

Deo is a five-term Member of Parliament from Parvathipuram, an AP constituency reserved for Scheduled Tribes. Deo is fluent in several languages – English, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Oriya, Bengali and is well-versed in parliamentary procedures.

As chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on privileges, Deo has a wide-ranging experience in dealing with various party leaders and issues.

He is also familiar with the Lok Sabha secretariat.

More importantly, when speaker Chatterjee sounded out in mid-2008 that he may resign, the Congress leadership had zeroed in on Deo as his replacement – a factor that may favour him this time.

Congress circles have also named Shinde as a potential speaker.

A two-time member each of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Shinde is a former Maharashtra chief minister and a former governor of Maharashtra.

He has been elected from Sholapur this time.

Congress veteran Manikrao Gavit, the senior most member in the 15th Lok Sabha, will take oath as the protem-speaker and oversee the process of speaker’s selection.

A decision on the speaker is most likely to be taken along the council of ministers.