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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

LS session from June 17, all eyes on Speaker pick

The announcement of the schedule, following the first meeting of the cabinet, sparked speculation about who would be the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The names of at least four former senior ministers are doing the rounds as possible candidates.

india Updated: Jun 01, 2019 10:44 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Javadekar added that the  cabinet had also decided to request the President to address a joint sitting of both Houses on June 20.
Javadekar added that the cabinet had also decided to request the President to address a joint sitting of both Houses on June 20.(HTPhoto)
         

The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha will take place from June 17 to July 26, and the full budget for the ongoing financial year will be presented on July 5, information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said on Friday. The Rajya Sabha will convene on June 20.

The announcement of the schedule, following the first meeting of the cabinet, sparked speculation about who would be the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. The names of at least four former senior ministers are doing the rounds as possible candidates.

With 353 seats in the 543 member Lok Sabha, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance’s candidate is a shoo-in for the post.

Javadekar added that the cabinet had also decided to request the President to address a joint sitting of both Houses on June 20. This will be President Ram Nath Kovind’s second address to Parliament in a calendar year after his speech at the beginning of the budget session in January.

Javadekar also said the election of Speaker will be held on June 19 and in the first two days of the session, the pro-tem speaker, will oversee the oath-taking ceremony of the members.

The economic survey will be tabled on July 4 followed by the presentation of the budget the following day. The session will have a total of 30 sittings spread over 40 days. It will be the first budget of the Modi government in its second term and will be presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The interim budget for the year 2019-20 was presented by then finance minister Piyush Goyal on February 1.

Former women and child minister Maneka Gandhi, former agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh and former minister of state for information technology SS Ahluwalia are possible names for the post of Speaker. Gandhi’s advantage is that she is the senior-most Parliamentarian in the NDA camp in this Lok Sabha. She is all set to be the pro-tem speaker, the head of the House who oversees oath-taking and registration of all members before a new speaker is elected. If the NDA wants someone who is very senior in the House, then Gandhi has a good chance. But her poor relationship with the principal opposition party, the Congress, and its top leaders might be a disadvantage.

A BJP leader also pointed out that “seniority might be preferable but is not always the sole criterion to select a speaker. Remember, when Balram Jakhar became the Speaker in 1980, he was a first-term MP.”

Singh has strong links with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and hails from Bihar, where he was also the president of the BJP’s state unit. A six-term Lok Sabha MP, he was in charge of the agriculture ministry. His equation with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, a key partner in the NDA, is believed to be excellent and that too, might be an advantage for him.

Ahluwalia’s mixed terms in Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha make him more senior than many BJP stalwarts. This time, he won from one of the bastions of the Trinamool Congress (Bardhaman-Durgapur) and his elevation as speaker would possibly be a reward to the party’s West Bengal unit that scored its best performance with 18 seats. He has a good rapport across political parties. Prabhu has friends across party lines and has been a senior politician with a clean image and is held in respect by many in the profession.

Still, if there’s one thing that’s clear from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term in power and the beginning of its second, it’s that this is a dispensation that likes to surprise people.

First Published: May 31, 2019 23:42 IST

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