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Speaker faces MPs' tug of war over housing

June 20, 2019 08:55 IST

From deciding on the composition of various House committees to fixing the seating arrangement of MPs, the new Lok Sabha Speaker has a full plate, reports R Rajagopalan.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi greets Om Birla on the latter's election as Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha, June 19, 2019. Photograph: ANI Photo

Newly elected Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla is already facing tremendous pressure from around 400 members of Parliament for allotting their accommodation.

Speaker Birla has to constitute two key committees in a day or two.

First and foremost is the Business Advisory Committee, which will guide him on the day to day conduct of the Lok Sabha proceedings as well as plan for the upcoming week's agenda.

The Business Advisory Committee consists of 12 members drawn from major political parties, and need to selected.


The next important committee is the House Committee of the Lok Sabha.

Unless this is convened, the MPs will not get their accommodation. Currently, many MPs are staying at hotels and guest houses of their respective state governments.

Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Gujarat, Dr C R Patil, who won the Lok Sabha election with the highest margin, is being considered for the post of House Committee chairman.

A prestigious panel, it has a major say in deciding whether an MP gets an apartment or a bungalow, with the few best maintained accommodations always seeing a tug of war.

Apart from this, Speaker Birla will also have to constitute at least 16 standing committees, in which he will be guided by Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi.

Election for the Deputy Speaker's post will have to be conducted by the Speaker. But with the government not keen on holding it in the current Budget session, it may be held in the Winter session of Parliament, it is learnt.

Finally, the new Speaker will have to allot the division numbers as per seniority and also fix the seating arrangements for MPs.

Unless the division number is given, the seats cannot be allotted, and this process is expected to take a week more.

Speaker Birla will face pressure from senior leaders for the allotment of the first two rows.

However, before that the respective political parties will have to identify their preferences through their chief whips to the Lok Sabha secretariat.