Eight-term member Sumitra Mahajan was on Friday unanimously elected Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha, becoming the second woman presiding officer of the Lower House after her predecessor Meira Kumar.
71-year-old Mahajan, the longest-serving woman MP, was elected after a motion moved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seconded by BJP veteran L K Advani was adopted by voice vote called by Protem Speaker Kamal Nath.
13 similar motions proposed and seconded by several parties in the ruling NDA as also in the opposition supporting Mahajan were also approved by the House.
Mahajan was led to the Speaker’s Chair by the Prime Minister, Advani, Anant Geete, M Thambidurai as also a number of opposition leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sudip Bandyopadhyay, besides Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
Born on April 12, 1943 in Chiplun of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra, Ms. Mahajan became a municipal corporator in 1982. Starting her political life at the age of 39, Mahajan became the deputy mayor and then an MP from Indore in Madhya Pradesh. She was a Minister of State in the Atal Behari Vajpayee cabinet from 1999 to 2004, holding different portfolios of Human Resources, Communications and IT and Petroleum and Natural Gas.
A lawyer-turned-politician, Ms. Mahajan is known for her trademark simplicity, honesty and clean image besides her impeccable winning record at the hustings.
An active parliamentarian, she has not only headed important committees, but has also been a keen debater and avid questioner inside the House, often seen putting ministers on the mat with her calm but firm interventions.
The mild-mannered Mahajan has over the years emerged as a force to reckon with in Indore where she never lost since she first became an MP in 1989 and a generation of opposition leaders have been waiting to trounce her.
She, however, had lost the Indore Assembly election thrice before becoming an MP.
Ms. Mahajan won her Lok Sabha seat for the eighth consecutive time in this election by an impressive margin of 4.67 lakh votes.
Within the BJP, Ms. Mahajan has grown from being President of the BJP Mahila Morcha in Madhya Pradesh in 1990 to being the national general secretary in 1998.