While the ruling National Democratic Alliance on Tuesday nominated Bharatiya Janata Party MP Om Birla for the Lok Sabha speaker’s post, Congress leader Kodikunnil Suresh also filed his nomination, The Indian Express reported.

The Opposition INDIA bloc fielding Suresh has forced an election for the speaker’s position for the first time in several decades, according to reports.

Birla, the MP from Rajasthan’s Kota constituency, was the speaker during the 17th Lok Sabha between 2019 and 2024. Suresh is the MP from Kerala’s Mavelikara.

An election for the speaker’s post takes place only if the House does not elect a candidate unanimously. The deadline to file nominations for the election was 12 pm on Tuesday.

The election will take place on Wednesday.

In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 240 seats. This was a significant fall from its tally of 303 seats in 2019. As it fell short of the majority mark of 272 seats, it had to depend on its partners in the National Democratic Alliance to form the government.

The Opposition INDIA bloc collectively has 232 seats in the Lower House.

Janata Dal (United) leader Lalan Singh said that Birla’s name was decided unanimously by all National Democratic Alliance parties and that senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh had also reached out to the Opposition for their support, PTI reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had said that the Opposition alliance would conditionally support the ruling National Democratic Alliance’s nominee.

“…the convention is that the deputy speaker post should be given to the Opposition,” Gandhi had said, reported ANI. “If the convention is followed, we will give full support to the speaker in the election.”

It was unclear as to who will become the deputy speaker. The position was vacant during the 17th Lok Sabha.

On Monday, BJP MP Bhartruhari Mahtab took oath as the pro tem speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha. He will hold the post till a full-time speaker is elected.

The oath was administered by President Droupadi Murmu ahead of the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha, which convened on Monday and will end on July 3.

Last week, the Congress had contended that Mahtab’s appointment was contrary to the convention that the MP who has served the most number of terms in the Lok Sabha should be named as the pro tem speaker.

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