Lok Sabha Deputy speaker post lies vacant as BJD refuses to bite bait.
New Delhi: Despite more than six months having gone by since the 17th Lok Sabha came into existence, the likelihood of the government finalising who will hold the post of Deputy Speaker in the Lower House continues to look remote. And now, with just a week left for the Winter session to end.
Sources in the know pointed out that the BJP-led NDA government was looking to nominate a candidate from a friendly ally. However, with the Shiv Sena having cut off ties with the ruling party, it was learnt to be seriously thinking of nominating somebody from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has made friendly overtures towards the saffron party ever since the NDA dispensation came back to power at the Centre in May this year.
However, the BJD has refused to take the bait, as doing so would make the Naveen Patnaik-led party carry the burden of obligation of the BJP.
Though there have been efforts by some senior BJD leaders to lobby for the coveted post, the shrewd politician that he is, Mr Patnaik has vetoed all such moves. At the same time though, the BJD has clearly indicated its support for the government by supporting all the bills that have been passed in the Lok Sabha ever since the NDA returned to power.
During the previous 16th Lok Sabha, the NDA government had nominated M. Thambidurai from the AIADMK for the post of Deputy Speaker. AIADMK being a long-time friendly ally of the NDA, the then party supremo and Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa had readily agreed to nominate her candidate for the post.
But after her untimely death in 2016, the BJP has been remote-controlling the AIADMK-led government in Tamil Nadu. Understanding the political dynamics well, the BJD has refused to fall into this trap and therefore Mr Patnaik has been studiously refusing to bite the bait.
With two sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha having almost gone by, it would be interesting to see what steps the NDA government takes in the forthcoming Budget session to address this issue.