Modi and Rahul Unite to Welcome Re-Elected Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla

In a momentous day for Indian politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, set to be the new Leader of Opposition, came together in the Lok Sabha. They shook hands as they welcomed Om Birla, who was re-elected as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, signifying a fresh chapter in the 18th Lok Sabha.

Rahul Gandhi Continues the Gandhi Legacy

Rahul Gandhi is the third member of his family to serve as the Leader of the Opposition. Following in the footsteps of his father, Rajiv Gandhi, who held the position from 1989 to 1990, and his mother, Sonia Gandhi, who served from 1999 to 2004, Rahul’s appointment marks the continuation of a significant political legacy.

Election Results Announced

Pro-tem Speaker Bhartruhari Mahtab announced the election results, which saw Congress MP K Suresh as the Opposition’s candidate, although the Opposition decided not to press for a vote. This decision paved the way for the smooth election of Om Birla, reinforcing the BJP’s message of continuity and stability.

PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi Escort Birla

Following the announcement, PM Modi, along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju and Rahul Gandhi, approached Om Birla’s seat in the front row to escort him to the Speaker’s chair. This gesture of solidarity marked a rare moment of unity between the ruling party and the Opposition.

PM Modi Congratulates Om Birla

Prime Minister Modi congratulated Om Birla, expressing his gratitude for his re-election. “It is a matter of honour that you have been elected to this chair for the second time,” Modi stated. “Your sweet smile keeps the entire House happy, and we look forward to your guidance for the next five years.”

Rahul Gandhi’s Commitment to Constructive Opposition

Rahul Gandhi also congratulated Birla on behalf of the Opposition and the INDIA alliance. “You are the final arbiter of people’s voice,” he emphasized. “The government may have political power, but the Opposition also represents the voice of the people. We are confident you will allow us to speak in the House.”

A Rare Election for Speaker

The election for the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, a rare occurrence, saw Om Birla, a three-time MP and the Speaker of the previous Lok Sabha, contesting against Congress’s K Suresh, an eight-term MP. The BJP’s choice of Birla was aimed at maintaining continuity in the House.

Opposition’s Strategic Moves

Despite the BJP’s appeal for consensus, the Congress insisted on pushing for their candidate. Rahul Gandhi highlighted the lack of cooperation from the ruling party, citing unfulfilled promises and a lack of communication from senior BJP leaders.

Political Meetings and Shifts

Parallel meetings were held by both camps, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah meeting NDA allies and the Opposition bloc convening at Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s house. The Trinamool Congress, initially hesitant, eventually declared its support for K Suresh after expressing dissatisfaction with the decision-making process.

Consensus and Appeals for Unity

Union Minister Kiren Rijiju made a final appeal for a consensus candidate, underscoring the government’s desire for an unopposed election. “For the last two days, we have been in contact with the main Opposition parties, talked to their floor leaders regarding the post of Speaker… We want the Speaker to be elected unopposed and through consensus,” he stated.

A New Era in the Lok Sabha

The re-election of Om Birla as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, marked by the symbolic handshake between Modi and Rahul Gandhi, signals a new era of cooperation and dialogue in Indian politics. As the 18th Lok Sabha convenes, the focus will be on navigating challenges with a renewed commitment to parliamentary democracy.

(With inputs from agencies)

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