'Don't know if the post of Deputy Speaker of LS was or will be offered to YSRCP' says BP spokesperson amid speculations
The Bharatiya Janata Party has reportedly offered the post of Deputy Speaker for the 17th Lok Sabha to the YSR Congress Party, which won 22 seats in the recently concluded Parliamentary election.
BJP MP and spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao met the YSRCP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy in a closed-door meeting at Reddy's official residence on Tuesday, June 11. The post was offered during the meeting, which lasted for close to half an hour, reported Times of India.
While the BJP spokesperson called the meeting a "courtesy call", it raised speculation over the post being offered to YSRCP. Rao had reportedly come with the offer from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The YSRCP has reportedly sought time to discuss the offer and its political consequences in AP. The Party, which won 22 out 25 Lok Sabha seats and 151 of the 175 Assembly seats in the election, has a huge voter base of Muslims, Christians, Dalits and voters from the lower economic class.
A convention of Lok Sabha for many years has been that while the ruling side appoints one of their own MP as the Speaker, the post of Deputy Speaker is given to the opposition side. However, it is not a rule.
A senior minister, who is also a part of the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs had reportedly said earlier this week that the BJP is unlikely to give the post to Congress just as Congress didn't give it to the BJP in 2004, adding that chances are high of either Biju Janata Dal or YRSCP getting the post.
The convention is born from a courtesy that was first shown by the Janata Party government in 1977 when the post went to Congress's MP Godey Murahari.
The Odisha Chief Minister and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik met PM Modi on Monday, amid speculations that PM might offer the post to him.
Shiv Sena had also demanded for the post of Deputy Speaker earlier this month, saying that the party has a natural claim over the post because of it being the second-largest ally of the NDA.
Meanwhile, G.V.L. Narasimha Rao clarified it to reporters after his meeting with Jagan Reddy that he did not know as to which party would be offered Deputy Speaker's post. He said this would be decided by the BJP leadership.
He also said that he did not know if the post was offered to YSRCP.
Jagan will be visiting the national capital on June 15 to attend a NITI Aayog meeting. He is likely to meet Modi during the visit.