Congress to decide on speaker by Saturday


New Delhi : The Congress leadership is likely to decide on the new speaker of the Lok Sabha by Saturday now that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 78-member council of ministers has been sworn in, party sources said.

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Five-time MP V. Kishore Chandra Deo of the Congress, which leads the United Progressive Alliance government at the centre, is believed to be the frontrunnner for the post. He won from the Araku tribal seat in Andhra Pradesh this time while in 2004 his constituency was Parvathipuram.

The 1947-born Deo, who hails from the Konda Dora tribal community, was union minister of state for steel, mines and coal in 1980. He has been on more than a dozen high level consultative committees of several ministries.

“No final decision has been taken on him, but he is a frontrunner. The name of Shivraj Patil is also being discussed since he has not been inducted into the council of ministers,” a Congress leader told IANS requesting anonymity. Patil had resigned as home minister in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes.

Somnath Chatterjee was the speaker in the 14th Lok Sabha.

By convention, the post of deputy speaker might go to the opposition. In the 14th Lok Sabha, Charanjit Singh Atwal of the Shiromani Akali Dal was deputy speaker. The Akali Dal is a partner in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance.

BJP sources, however, said this time the party may make a claim for the post and the name of its leader Sumitra Mahajan is being considered for it.

However, Janata Dal-United (JD-U), another NDA ally, has floated the name of its Bihar unit chief Rajiv Ranjan Singh. It is unclear when the NDA partners will take a decision.