New Delhi: Sumitra Mahajan was unanimously elected new speaker of Lok Sabha on Friday. With this, she becomes the second woman in the history of Indian legislation to hold the position after Miera Kumar, who was the speaker in the 15th Lok Sabha.
Mahajanâ€™s was the only name that was proposed at the time for filing nomination. Opposition leaders, including Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, M Thambidurai (AIADMK), Sudip Bandopadhyay (Trinamool Congress), B Mahtab (BJD), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), H D Deve Gowda (JDS), Supriya Sule (NCP), Mohammed Salip (CPI-M) and Jitendra Reddy (TRS) were among the 19-proposers for her name.
Mahajan, lovingly called â€˜Taiâ€™, is known for her amicable nature and has her friends and admirers in all parties. 72-year-old Mahajan is an eight-term Lok Sabha member from Indore and has worked for long in the panel of Chairperson of the House.
She has â€“ throughout her career â€“ remained a good parliamentarian, minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet, and had an occasional flash of public limelight, in the brilliant speech she delivered on the Criminal Law amendment Bill, following the Nirbhaya gang rape case. Back home in MP though, she was edged out by Kailash Vijayvargiya and Uma Bharati as a political force, she hung on to her support base by sheer dint of will. Every time it was said she would lose, she came back, sometimes with a narrow margin (11,000 votes in 2009) sometimes with a huge one (4,66,000 lakh votes).
The post-Babri Masjid demolition elections of 1996 saw her win for the first time. While her husband declared that this would be her gateway to being the eventual chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, it was not to be.