Woman power: MPs get dose of Speaker Meira Kumar's anger

Woman power: MPs get dose of Speaker Meira Kumar's anger

"Go back to your seats. I said go back to your seats," Meira Kumar shouted at some Samajwadi Party (SP) members who were walking towards her podium to stall question hour.

The protesting SP members quietly walked back to their seats -- something that noisy MPs are not known for. Perhaps they had sensed her angry tone.

"Shaant ho jaayen (be quiet). Shistaachar ka nirvaahan kariye...(maintain the discipline)," she scolded them. She was not heard pleading even once - unlike her usual way to restore order in the lower house of parliament.

The speaker's angry tone even prompted SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to say sorry. He asked if she was angry with them. "Main naaraz nahin hoon (I'm not angry)," responded the 66-year-old Meira Kumar, held as a symbol of women's empowerment in India. She is the first woman Lok Sabha speaker.

SP members were protesting the alleged house arrest of their leaders -- Mulayam Singh and son Akhilesh -- in Lucknow Monday. The speaker assured them she would look into the matter. "You have made your point, now let question hour go on," she said, softening her tone.

At the start of the day, the speaker congratulated Indian women and highlighted the efforts the country has made to empower them.

The United Nations "theme for this year's International Women's Day is 'Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women'.

This theme finds resonance towards our efforts in the empowerment of women," said the diplomat-turned-politician.

Meira Kumar is the daughter of former deputy prime minister late Jagjivan Ram. She quit the Indian Foreign Service in 1985 to join politics. She has been a five-term member of the Lok Sabha. She was sworn in as minister for water resources before she became a consensus candidate for the high seat in the 15th Lok Sabha.