With strained government-Opposition ties marring the functioning of previous Lok Sabha, new Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Friday said creating “coordination” among parties will be her top priority and she will be “gentle but firm” to ensure smooth proceedings.
The senior-most woman parliamentarian has taken the new responsibility as yet another “challenge” in her long political career spanning over three decades.
“Every new responsibility is a challenge for any human being. For me making first ‘roti’, contesting first election were also challenges and now I have this new responsibility which the party has given me,” Ms. Mahajan told PTI in an interview.
The 71-year-old Indore MP created history last month by becoming the first woman MP to have won eight times in row from the same Lok Sabha constituency. She defeated Satyanarayan Patel of Congress by a margin of 4,66,901 votes, highest in Madhya Pradesh.
Gearing up for the new responsibility, Ms. Mahajan said that she will try her level best to fulfil the expectations.
“The most important thing is that almost all other parties have supported it (her candidature). I will try my best to fulfil the expectations,” she told PTI in an interview.
Her priority, she said, will be to create and maintain coordination among all the parties.
“Let’s see what happens in future... but the first thing will be to develop co-ordination among all,” said the veteran BJP leader.
There have been regular disruptions in Parliament in previous sessions and considering her soft-spoken nature, won’t it be a challenge for her?
“There have been many reasons for disruptions in Parliament. I don’t want to talk about them now....
“You have seen when Parliament proceedings were disrupted and you will see if the proceedings are smooth in future,” said Ms. Mahajan, adding she will handle things in her own way.
Fondly called ‘tai’ (elder sister in Marathi), she said she will be like a mother, who loves her kids and scolds them as well when needed.
“I am also a mother and I have a heart of a mother so I will handle every situation like that,” said Ms. Mahajan, who is a law graduate and has a Master of Arts degree from Indore University.
Coming from a non-political background, Ms. Mahajan began her political career as a corporator in Municipal Corporation in Indore and made a historic debut in Lok Sabha by defeating Congress stalwart and former Chief Minister of MP Prakash Chandra Sethi in 1989.
She, however, never thought that her political innings will be so long.
“Actually, at that time I never thought that way. Party had introduced me and my work to public. Kushabhau Thakre (then BJP president) told me to contest election and I accepted. I never had any political ambition,” said the leader who is known for her simple and honest approach.
When asked about the changes in BJP over the years, she said hard work of previous leaders resulted in the party’s success today.
“The leaders of BJP have worked so hard in the past. They have cultivated the farm so perfectly and it is due to their hard work, we are seeing the lush crop today. We are maintaining and protecting the crop and ensuring that it thrives,” she said.
“The best thing is that the organisation is very strong and spreading all over the country. This is an organisation-based party which is great,” she said.