New Delhi: Following the decision of Speaker Om Birla to not preside over the House, the Union government is considering to fill the vacant post of Deputy Speaker to maintain order in the Lower House of the Parliament.
The Speaker has not been presiding over the House for two days. He has been upset over the behaviour of the Opposition members which resulted in continuous adjournment of the Lok Sabha. For the last two days, a panel of chairpersons has been convening the business of the House.
According to sources, it is becoming difficult for the Union government to maintain order in the House and conduct business as usual. The panel of chairpersons has not been able to fill the vacuum created due to the absence of Speaker Om Birla which, sources said, compelled the Centre to fill the post of Deputy Speaker.
Significantly, Articles 93 of the Constitution makes it obligatory to appoint a Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
“The House of the People shall, as soon as may be, choose two members of the House to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof and, so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the House shall choose another member to be Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be,” states Article 93.
While Om Birla was unanimously elected as the Speaker in June last year, the post of Deputy Speaker remained vacant till now.
During the absence of the Speaker, the House has been presided over by a panel of chairpersons namely Bhartruhari Mahtab, NK Premachandran, Rama Devi, Kirit P Solanki, Rajendra Agarwal, Kodikunnil Suresh, A Raja, PV Midhun Reddy, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar and Meenakshi Lekhi.
Sources also said that Senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Bhartruhari Mahtab is likely to be elected as the Deputy Speaker of the Lower House. Mahtab has been known in the House for sharing cordial relations with all members cutting across party lines. During the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha, Mahtab was considered as the frontrunner for the post of Deputy Speaker. According to sources, Mahtab is likely to be elected unanimously for the post.
Bhartruhari Mahtab is a six-time MP from Cuttack constituency of Odisha. He has also received the ‘Outstanding Parliamentarian Award’. He is also the recipient of Sansad Ratna Award 2017, 2018 and 2019 for his outstanding performance in debates.
Kuldeep Singh, OP