Speaker issue highlights PM’s undemocratic behaviour

It looks like there will be a contest for the Lok Sabha speaker’s post for the first time in the history of India’s parliamentary democracy. The ruling BJP and opposition Congress failed to reach a consensus which forced the election. The opposition wants the post of deputy speaker to support the BJP candidate for the speaker’s post. This is usually a norm which has been followed since time immemorial. But ever since the BJP came to power the post of deputy speaker has not been given to the opposition. The speaker and his/her deputy – the post fuelling disagreements between the two political giants – are usually elected by consensus, the lack of which in this instance underlines the fractious BJP-Congress ties.

The election for the speaker’s post – scheduled for 11 am on Wednesday – will see the BJP’s Om Birla, a three-time MP from Kota in Rajasthan, up against the Congress’ Kodikunnil Suresh, an eight-term parliamentarian from Kerala’s Mavelikara. Suresh is the longest-serving parliamentarian in the 18th Lok Sabha. The reluctance of the ruling BJP to give the post of deputy speaker to the opposition once again shows the undemocratic behavior of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is known not to cede any ground to the opposition. Though he talks about promoting healthy democracy, his actions are always the opposite. Modi by deciding not to cede the post of deputy speaker of Lok Sabha to the opposition has once again demonstrated his lack of democratic values. The opposition, with their numbers high, will not make his tenure easy by any means.