Sumitra Mahajan to be LS Speaker
New Delhi, June 5
Amritsar MP Amarinder Singh was appointed as the deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha. Amarinder, who returned to the Lok Sabha after three decades, considered the appointment as a challenge and promised to raise all issues of concern in the House. "I look forward to it. It is a challenge and though we are just 44 MPs in the House, we will raise all issues be it national, social or international affairs. We will work hard," said the former Punjab CM.
As many as 19 motions, supporting Sumitra's election to the high-ranking constitutional post, were moved. In fact, the name of the eight-time MP from Indore was the only one proposed at the time of filing nomination. The formal elections would take place tomorrow afternoon, Naidu said.
With this, 71-year-old Mahajan will become the second woman to occupy the Speaker's post after Congress' Meira Kumar, the Speaker of the 15th Lok Sabha. Mahajan had the backing of the all-powerful RSS - ideological fountainhead of the BJP.
Among the 19 motions moved in her favour, the one by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was seconded by LK Advani. Other BJP leaders to propose her name were Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj.
Popularly known as "Tai", elder sister in Marathi, Mahajan is known for her amicable nature and has friends in all parties. She has been representing Indore in the Lok Sabha since 1989. Mahajan was a Minister of State in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government from 1999 to 2004.
Suspense continued to prevail over her deputy with some senior BJP leaders hinting that the decision on the appointment could be taken around the Budget Session and the post could go to the Congress.
"There is no hurry," a senior leader said. The name of the AIADMK member M Thambidurai is also doing the rounds for the Deputy Speaker's post. The AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa was in the Capital two days back. Sources say to get the AIADMK support in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority, the BJP may concede the post to her.
The AIADMK recently made Thambidurai its parliamentary party leader - a post he also held in the last Lok Sabha. He has served as the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha in the past.
The BJP-led NDA requires support from other parties to pass crucial Bills in the Rajya Sabha. In this context AIADMK, with its 10 members in the RS, may be inclined to provide that extra help. In the 245-member Rajya Sabha, the BJP has 42 members and allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal three each, the TDP six and the RPI-A one member.
With its 67 members, the Congress is all set to fight its battles in the Rajya Sabha - a reason the BJP may allow it the post of the Deputy Speaker in the Lok Sabha.
The Congress' decision to appoint Amarinder as deputy leader in the LS brings a balance in leadership positions. The party has already named Dalit leader and former Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge from Karnataka as the party leader in the House.
Younger leaders — Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia as the Chief Whip, Rohtak MP Deepender Hooda and Alapuzha MP KC Venugopal as the Whips — will assist these two in running the affairs of the party in the House.
Congress leaders from Punjab, including former MP Surinder Singla and MLA Rana Gurmit Sodhi hailed Amarinder's appointment.
The Congress will have to turn its attention to fill similar leadership slots in the RS.
No room for Advani in Parliament
Amarinder to be Kharge’s deputy in LS