The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday sprang a surprise by picking two-time Rajasthan member Om Birla as the NDA candidate for the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post, and got the immediate backing of Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
Although there was no official announcement by the BJP about Birla’s selection, his wife Amita Birla said the news “was a happy and proud moment for the family”.
Pinaki Misra, the BJD parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha, said his party, although not a member of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), had decided to support Birla.
“The BJP, which has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, has nominated Om Birla for the post of the Lok Sabha Speaker and sought our support for him. Since we have always had constructive cooperation with the Centre, we will support the proposal,” said Mishra.
If nominated, Birla, 56, will easily win an election for the Speaker’s post given the whopping majority the BJP-led NDA enjoys in the Lok Sabha.
The election for the coveted post is scheduled for Wednesday.
A three-time MLA, Birla, who describes himself as an agriculturalist and a social worker, was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kota in Rajasthan. This was his second victory in Lok Sabha elections after 2014.
A Masters in Commerce, Birla has been active in politics since his student days. He was first elected to the Rajasthan Assembly in 2003 and twice more before he was catapulted to the Lok Sabha.
The opposition parties are yet to announce their candidate for the Speaker’s post. Tuesday is the last day for nomination.