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Opposition gears up for Deputy Speaker contest, rallies around MP who defeated BJP from Ayodhya

THE OPPOSITION is gearing up to field Samajwadi Party MP from Faizabad and senior leader Awadhesh Prasad as its united nominee for the Deputy Speaker’s post, in a calculated one towards further consolidation of the Dalit votes in Uttar Pradesh and to keep the momentum going for the Congress-Samajwadi Party alliance in the crucial state.

Recognised as the Dalit face of a “Yadav party” like the SP, Prasad ticks many boxes for the INDIA alliance, apart from his own legislative experience as a nine-time MLA from Milkipur (Ayodhya). His defeat of the BJP candidate from Faizabad, months after the inauguration of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya, falling within the constituency, has further raised his prestige. He was the rare Dalit candidate to win from a general seat, and the only won in UP.

According to a source, Prasad’s name was first proposed by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee. “Largely, there is consensus with regard to Prasad’s name with top INDIA bloc leaders endorsing it. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and others like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and DMK are also on board with the proposal,” the source told The Indian Express.

It is natural, the source added, that the nominee for the Deputy Speaker’s post comes from the party which has the second highest number of MPs, the SP, especially since the INDIA bloc’s Speaker candidate came from the Congress.

Pointing out that the government was yet to reach out on the Deputy Speaker’s post, the source added: “The opposition arriving at a consensus on a candidate for the post is natural.”

The Opposition had rallied behind the Congress’s K Suresh as its Speaker nominee last week, forcing

Read more on indianexpress.com