8 June : Leaders cutting across party lines backed the nomination of the seven-term tribal MP from Jharkhand for Deputy Speaker after the Congress-led UPA offered the post to the Opposition as per convention.BJP’s Karia Munda was unanimously elected as the new Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha by a voice vote on Monday.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar declared that Munda has been elected Deputy Speaker of the House.Since 1977, the post of Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha has been offered to the Opposition, while ruling alliance decides its nominee for Speaker.
Leader of the Opposition L K Advani moved the first motion proposing Munda’s name for the post of Deputy Speaker. It was seconded by Rajnath Singh.Others who supported Munda’s nomination were Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Anant Geete (Shiv Sena), Ratan Singh Ajnala (Shiromani Akali Dal) and Ajit Singh (RLD).
On behalf of the UPA, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee proposed Munda’s name which was seconded by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sudip Bandopadhyay (TMC), T R Baalu (DMK), Reoti Raman Singh (SP) and E Ahamed (IUML) also backed Munda’s nomination.
After his unanimous election, the Prime Minister, Leader of the House Mukherjee and Leader of Opposition Advani walked up to the opposition benches where Munda was sitting, wished him and escorted him to the front row seat meant for the Deputy Speaker.
The Prime Minister said Munda had a "wealth of experience", being elected to the House seven times and also being a member in the Union Cabinet.He said the new Deputy Speaker was a "multi-faceted personality" who had worked for empowerment of women and also written a book on Rabindranath Tagore.
Describing Munda as "a parliamentarian, administrator and social reformer", Mukherjee said his election to the post would "not only lighten your (Speaker’s) burden but also guide us in orderly conduct of the House."
He said it was a "healthy practice" since 1977 that the Speaker would be nominated by the ruling party and the Deputy Speaker by the Opposition.This was still being continued, Mukherjee said.
BJP leader Advani recalled that he himself and Munda had worked as Ministers with Kumar’s father Jagjivan Ram in the cabinet of Prime Minister Morarji Desai.
He said the unanimous election of Kumar and Munda as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, as well as the 2009 parliamentary polls, had shown that Indian democracy had matured.
"Whoever may have won or lost, but Indian democracy has won", Advani said adding that both the ruling and opposition parties had cooperated to make the elections to the two top parliamentary positions unanimous.
Congratulating her Deputy, Speaker Meira Kumar said her own election and Munda’s were "a testimony to the maturity of the people and parliamentary system.
It shows that India is the largest working democracy in the world inspite of various problems".
She appealed to all parties to strive for unanimity in all issues, as was reflected in the two elections as it was their duty to come up to the expectations of the people who had elected them.
SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, Arjun Sethi (BJD) and Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M) congratulated Munda on his election and assured their parties’ full cooperation in smooth running of the House proceedings.
Mulayam said the practice of having the Speaker and Deputy Speaker from the ruling and opposition parties was introduced by him in Uttar Pradesh assembly and should be adopted by other assemblies also.
Acharia said Munda represented a region and the people who were led by the great Birsa Munda to rise in revolt against British imperialism, while Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) wanted the government to translate the gesture of electing people from scheduled castes and tribes to high posts "into state practice and policy".