Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and veteran parliamentarian Sumitra Mahajan is all set to be named as the candidate of the ruling combine for the post of Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha. An eight-time member of the House, Ms. Mahajan’s name has been in the reckoning for the Speaker’s position since the election results were out.
The 71-year-old Ms. Mahajan will be the second woman to preside over the Lower House; outgoing Speaker Meira Kumar was the first. This will be the first time that the BJP will have a party member as Speaker. In the BJP’s earlier stints in government at the Centre at the head of the National Democratic Alliance, the post of Speaker was given to key allies: First G.M.C. Balayogi of the Telugu Desam Party and then Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi.
Soon after the Lok Sabha results were declared and speculation began on who will be given what post in the government, Ms. Mahajan’s and party patriarch L.K. Advani’s were the two names doing the rounds for the post of Speaker.
Ms. Mahajan — who won her eighth Lok Sabha elections in 2014 — is among the longest-serving women members of Parliament. Having represented the Indore constituency of Madhya Pradesh since 1989, Ms. Mahajan is a party veteran who is considered efficient, non-controversial and fair.
A lawyer by training, she was a Minister of State in the Vajpayee Government; moving from Human Resource Development to Communication & Information Technology, and finally Petroleum and Natural Gas.
The Speaker’s election is scheduled for Friday and from all indications Ms. Mahajan will be elected unopposed. Till then the senior-most member of the House, Kamal Nath of the Congress — who was sworn-in pro tem Speaker by President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday morning just ahead of the first sitting of the Lok Sabha — will preside over the functioning of the House.