Lok Sabha Speaker Election: Government’s Edge and Opposition’s Struggle

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Today’s Lok Sabha Speaker election is poised to reinforce the government’s dominance while potentially further weakening the Opposition. With five of its 232 MPs yet to take oath and thus unable to vote, the Opposition faces a significant disadvantage. This list includes prominent figures like Congress’s Shashi Tharoor and Trinamool Congress’s Shatrughan Sinha, as well as Deepak Adhikari, Nurul Islam (both from Trinamool Congress), Afzhal Ansari of the Samajwadi Party, and two Independents.

The reasons behind the pending oaths of some leaders remain unclear. Afzhal Ansari, notably, is the elder brother of criminal-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari. Despite a four-year prison sentence, his jail term was postponed by the Allahabad High Court considering the election. The case will be reviewed in July, and if the court upholds his sentence, he will lose his parliamentary membership.

Victory in the Speaker election depends on the number of MPs present and voting. The absence of these seven MPs lowers the total count, adjusting the majority mark. While the Opposition initially secured 232 seats, the absence of five MPs reduces their count to 227, assuming all others vote. The majority mark stands at 269.

The NDA, with 293 MPs, also anticipates support from the four MPs of YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress. While Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, defeated in the Odisha assembly election, refuses BJP support, the YSR Congress, despite losing to BJP ally Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, remains supportive.

The BJP, already positioned for Om Birla’s victory against Opposition candidate K Suresh for a second term, focuses on optics. The party is also courting support from Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Akali Dal, Nagina MP Chandrashekhar Azad, and Shillong MP Ricky Andrew Syngkon to surpass the 300-seat threshold.

Unlike in 2014 and 2019, the BJP has not achieved a majority on its own and relies on allies like Naidu’s TDP and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United. A decisive victory in the Lok Sabha is expected to boost morale within the BJP camp.

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