Sumitra Mahajan unanimously elected Speaker of Lok Sabha

Sumitra Mahajan unanimously elected Speaker of Lok Sabha
Eight-term member Sumitra Mahajan was today unanimously elected Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha, becoming the second woman presiding officer of the Lower House after her predecessor Meira Kumar.

71-year-old Mahajan, the longest-serving woman MP, was elected after a motion moved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seconded by BJP veteran L K Advani was adopted by voice vote called by Protem Speaker Kamal Nath.

13 similar motions proposed and seconded by several parties in the ruling NDA as also in the opposition supporting Mahajan were also approved by the House.

Mahajan was led to the Speaker's Chair by the Prime Minister, Advani, Anant Geete, M Thambidurai as also a number of opposition leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sudip Bandyopadhyay, besides Parliamentary Affairs  Minister M Venkaiah Naidu. 

Mahajan, clad in an off-white saree with green border, accepted the post with grace and thanked members for electing her unanimously.

Describing the new assignment as a challenging task, she said she will try to give justice to all parties, including the smallest.

Modi congratulated Mahajan and thanked all parties and members for unanimously electing her as the Speaker and keeping up the great tradition of electing the presiding officer without a contest.

"It is a matter of pride for all of us that a woman is at the helm of the temple of world's largest democracy and we hope that her guidance would help us in the smooth conduct of the House," he said.

Referring to her battle-hardened political career, the Prime Minister said she has risen from the ranks after starting as an ordinary member of the Indore Municipal Corporation and has become an MP for eight terms due to her public service.

Drawing parallels, Modi said the 16th Lok Sabha is similar to that of the country's first Lok Sabha as the present House has around 315 first time members.

With new blood and aspirations, coupled with great traditions of the past, the House could become a temple of energy to help address the hopes of the people, he said, adding the Speaker's name "Sumitra" itself gives a feeling of friendliness.

Quoting a Sanskrit saying, "Mahajano yena gatasya pantha" (you should follow great people), Modi said, "We now have a 'Mahajan' (great person) presiding over the House and what could be more appropriate?" 

Describing her assignment as glorious and challenging, Mahajan assured members that she would not let them down and try to do justice by fulfilling their expectations.

Expressing gratitude to members for electing her unanimously, she said the country's 1.25 billion people have expressed their faith in the elected members with the expectation that their hopes and aspirations will be fulfilled.

"If we discharge our responsibility dutifully and with dedication, then only we will be able to fulfil those expectations of the people," she said.

Modi later tweeted saying he has known Mahajan for years and has seen her dedication and monumental service towards people -- be it as an MP or a Union minister.

"I wish Sumitraji the very best in her role as Speaker. I assure our complete support and cooperation in the smooth running of the House," he tweeted, adding, "Her election is a proud moment for our democracy."

As Mahajan ascended the Speaker's seat closely followed by Modi, Protem Speaker Kamal Nath was seen exchanging a few words with the Prime Minister.

Nath was heard saying, "Madhya Pradesh ke saath nyay hua hai (justice has been done with Madhya Pradesh)," as both he and Mahajan are from that state.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu thanked Nath as well as Lok Sabha Secretary General P Sreedharan for conducting the oath taking process of the new members.

The Secretary General created a record by carrying out oath for 510 members in a single day, he said.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge expected that the Speaker would protect the rights of all. "I know that you cannot please all but you should protect all parties. Let them be big or small," he said.

At a time when Congress was expecting the Leader of the Opposition status in spite of lack of requisite numbers, Kharge remarked, "hayat le ke chalo, kaynat le ke chalo, zamane ko saath le ke chalo (let us embrace all, the whole universe as we leave, let us keep the whole world as our company)", meaning thereby that she should take everyone along. 
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