New Delhi: Eight-time parliamentarian Sumitra Mahajan (pictured), was unanimously elected speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced his council of ministers to the lower house of parliament as per tradition.
The name of Mahajan, the MP from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, was proposed by Modi and seconded by BJP patriarch L K Advani.
Mahajan, 71, is the second woman speaker of the Lok Sabha after Meira Kumar, who presided over the 15th Lok Sabha.
Complimenting Mahajan on her election, Modi said it has taken place unanimously according to the highest traditions of parliament. He thanked all parties for their support.
“It is a matter of pride that in the world’s biggest democracy, in this temple of democracy, a woman is the speaker. Your guidance will be valuable,” the prime minister said.
Mahajan, in her speech, appealed to members for their cooperation.
“I appeal to everyone to hold discussions in a calm manner... Our parliament was known for good discussions. We have strayed from that, healthy discussions should be the norm now,” she said.
Several leaders cutting across party lines, including Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, proposed and seconded Mahajan’s name.
Pro-tem Speaker Kamal Nath took up the motion of election of the speaker after some MPs, including BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi and Jagdambika Pal, took oath yesterday.
As there was no other candidate, Kamal Nath declared that the motion moved by the prime minister has been carried and Mahajan declared elected as the speaker.
He then invited Mahajan to assume her seat on the podium.
As Mahajan, who was sitting in the BJP front row, walked to her seat, she was accompanied by Modi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu.
Several leaders, including Advani, Yadav, AIADMK’s M Thambidurai and Shiv Sena’s Anant Geete, complimented Mahajan. Some of them went to the podium to greet her.
Wishing her well in her role as speaker, Modi assured her of the government’s complete support and cooperation in the smooth running of the house.
“I have known Sumitraji for years and have seen her dedication and monumental service towards people, be it as a MP or as a union minister,” Modi later tweeted.
Following the election of the speaker, Modi introduced his council of ministers. Beginning with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the prime minister introduced all the ministers one by one in Hindi. The only minister who was not present was Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal. Addressing a press conference later, Mahajan said the decision on appointment of Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha would be made after taking into consideration precedents in the case.
The Congress, the main opposition party, has been truncated to just 44 seats in the house of 545 this time. Whether the Congress is eligible for getting Leader of Opposition status is not clear yet. To be recognised as the main opposition party in the Lok Sabha, a party needs to have won 10 percent of the total 543 elected seats, which means a party with 54 seats will get the recognition.IANS