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Lok Sabha Speaker chosen by consensus since Independence | A look at previous elections for top post

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will begin on June 24 during which new members of the Lower House will take oath and the Speaker will be elected.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New Delhi Published on: June 18, 2024 18:54 IST
Parliament, Lok Sabha, Lok Sabha Speaker
Image Source : PTI Parliament complex

If election for the post of Speaker of Lok Sabha is forced next week, it would first such instance in the history of independent India, as the presiding officer has always been selected by a consensus. Elections to the post of the Speaker of what the Parliament was called in the pre-independence days – Central Legislative Assembly – were held for the first time on August 24, 1925, in which Swarajist Party nominee Vitthalbhai J Patel won the post against T Rangachariar. Patel won the election with a narrow margin of two votes. Patel had polled 58 votes against 56 garnered by Rangachariar.

Since Independence, Lok Sabha Speakers have also been chosen by consensus, and MA Ayyangar, GS Dhillon, Balram Jakhar and GMC Balayogi were the only ones who retained the coveted posts in the subsequent Lok Sabhas.

Jakhar was the Speaker of the seventh and the eighth Lok Sabhas and holds the distinction of being the only presiding officer to complete two full terms.

Balayogi was chosen as the Speaker of the 12th Lok Sabha, which had a tenure of 19 months. He was also chosen as the Speaker of the 13th Lok Sabha on October 22, 1999, till his death in a chopper crash on March 3, 2002.

Opposition demands Deputy Speaker post

The Opposition’s I.N.D.I.A bloc has now demanded the post of the Deputy Speaker, which by convention is held by a member of an Opposition party. In the 17th Lok Sabha, the post of Deputy Speaker remained vacant, which had drawn criticism from the Opposition.

"We will force a contest for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker if the government does not agree to have an opposition leader as Deputy Speaker," a senior Congress leader said.

The first session of the 18th Lok Sabha will begin on June 24 during which new members of the Lower House will take oath and the Speaker will be elected. As per convention, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will move the motion for election of the Speaker in the Lok Sabha on June 26.

Senior Congress leader K Suresh is the senior most member of the Lok Sabha and is expected to be appointed as Pro-Tem Speaker, before whom the members would take oath.

President Droupadi Murmu will address the joint sitting of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on June 27.

The INDIA bloc won 233 seats in the Lok Sabha elections, while the BJP-led NDA won 293 seats to retain power for the third consecutive term. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) with 16 seats and Janata Dal (U) with 12 seats are the biggest allies of the BJP which bagged 240 seats.

Opposition asks TDP to insist on Speaker post

The opposition bloc is also egging on BJP ally TDP to insist on the post of the Lok Sabha Speaker, cautioning the regional party that it may face gradual disintegration due to BJP's machinations.

"We have the experience that the BJP betrays the people who support it," Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said in Mumbai on Sunday.

The JD(U) has declared support for a BJP candidate as the Lok Sabha Speaker, while the TDP is understood to have favoured a consensus candidate for the coveted post.

Elections of Speaker post

The post of the Speaker of the Central Legislative Assembly witnessed a contest on six occasions between 1925 and 1946.

  • Vitthalbhai Patel was re-elected to the post unanimously on January 20, 1927. He quit the post on April 28, 1930, following a call for Civil Disobedience by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Sir Muhammad Yakub (78 votes) won the Speaker's election against Nand Lal (22 votes) on July 9, 1930. Yakub stayed in the post for one session, the last of the third Assembly.
  • In the fourth Assembly, Sir Ibrahim Rahimtoola (76 votes) won the Speaker's election against Hari Singh Gour, who got 36 votes. Rahimtoola resigned on health grounds on March 7, 1933, and was succeeded by Shanmukham Chetty on March 14, 1933, as the unanimous choice.
  • Sir Abdur Rahim was elected as the Speaker of the Fifth Assembly on January 24, 1935. Rahim had polled 70 votes against T A K Sherwani, who could muster the support of 62 members.
  • Rahim held the high office for more than 10 years as the tenure of the fifth Legislative Assembly was extended from time to time on account of the contemplated constitutional changes and later due to World War II.
  • The last contest for the post of the Central Legislative Assembly Speaker was held on January 24, 1946, when Congress leader G V Mavalankar won the election against Cowasjee Jehangir by a margin of three votes. Mavalankar polled 66 votes against 63 by Jehangir. Mavalankar was subsequently appointed as the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly and the Provisional Parliament which came into being after the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950. Mavalankar continued to be the Speaker of the Provisional Parliament till April 17, 1952, when the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were constituted after the first general elections.
  • Ayyangar, the first Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, was chosen as the Speaker following the death of Mavalankar in 1956. He won the 1957 general elections and was chosen as the Speaker of the second Lok Sabha.
  • Dhillon was chosen as the Speaker of the fourth Lok Sabha after the resignation of incumbent N Sanjeeva Reddy in 1969. Dhillon was also the Speaker of the fifth Lok Sabha in 1971 and continued in office till December 1, 1975, when he quit during the Emergency.

(With PTI inputs)

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