M Thambidurai, leader of AIADMK in Parliament, was unanimously elected as Lok Sabha’s Deputy Speaker on Wednesday, making him the first leader to occupy the post twice.
67-year-old AIADMK leader was elected to the post after a motion, moved by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and seconded by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj supporting him, was carried by voice vote amid thumping of desks from all sides.
Thambidurai, who was Deputy Speaker from 1985 to 1989, was the only candidate to file nominations for the post before Tuesday’s deadline. 11 parties in the ruling and the opposition benches including BJP and Congress supported him.
A five-term member, Thambidurai represents Karur constituency in Tamil Nadu and his party is the second largest party in the opposition after Congress.
While there were 12 other similar motions moved by leaders of Congress, Trinamool Congress, BJD, Shiv Sena, TDP, TRS, AIADMK, LJP and NCP, they became infructuous after the one moved by Rajnath Singh and Swaraj, “that Dr M Thambidurai, a member of this House, be chosen as the Deputy Speaker of this House”, was adopted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Thambidurai as a “multi-faceted personality” and thanked all parties, especially those in the Opposition, to have made his unanimous election possible.
Modi said Thambidurai was not only an academician, but an activist and an agriculturist also and his rich parliamentary experience would guide the House on the correct path.
Leader of the Congress Mallikarjun Kharge, whose party has still not been given the post of the Leader of the Opposition, said Thambidurai was “large-hearted” and would help the Opposition to put forth its point of view.
He said he was not blaming Speaker Sumitra Mahajan of partiality but wanted to emphasise that “we have to get along for five long years.”
“Abhi manzil bahut door hai. Dil mile ya na mile, kamsey kam haath milake chalna hai (the destination is far off. Even if our hearts do not meet, we have to move forward at least by holding hands),” Kharge said.
The Speaker later sought to turn the tables on Kharge saying “agar man saaf ho to dil milne me kathinai nahi hoti (if our conscience is clear, there is no problem for our hearts to meet).”
She hailed Thambidurai for his intellect, wisdom and long parliamentary experience and said his election would definitely raise the prestige of the post.
The Prime Minister assured Thambidurai of full cooperation of the government and the treasury benches in running the House and said the unanimous election was in keeping with the highest traditions of the House.
AIADMK with 37 MPs is the third largest party in Lok Sabha after BJP and Congress, which have 279 and 44 members respectively.