Meira calls on Sonia, a day before LS session

Prez to address joint House session on June 4

The meeting took place just a day before the start of the first session of the new Lok Sabha (LS) on Monday.

The session is likely to conclude on June 9, and it will witness the Lower House of the Parliament electing the Speaker and the new UPA government spelling out its action plan for the first 100 days in office through a presidential address. The Speaker will be elected on June 3. President Pratibha Patil will address a joint session of the Parliament on June 4 next.

The  Congress, which has 206 MPs in the LS, seems to have decided to nominate Kumar as its candidate for the post of Speaker. Sources said Gandhi had asked Kumar if she was ready to resign as the minister of water resources if the party nominated her as its candidate for the post of the LS Speaker.

The five-term MP from Bihar reportedly expressed her willingness to abide by the party’s decision.

Later, the LS secretary general P D T Achary called on Kumar at her residence. If Kumar, daughter of late and former deputy prime minister Babu Jagjivan Ram, is elected to be the LS Speaker, she will not only be the first woman to preside over the Lower House, but also the first Congress MP to occupy the post in 11 years.

The last Congressman to be elected to the post of LS Speaker was P A Sangma, who later quit the party and floated the Nationalist Congress Party along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar. Sangma was the LS Speaker from May 25, 1996 till March 23, 1998.
He was succeeded by Telugu Desam Party’s G M C Balayogi (1998-2002), Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi (2002-2004) and CPM’s Somnath Chatterjee (2004-2009). Chatterjee was ousted from the CPM during the fiasco over India-US nuke deal in July last year.

Though Kishore Chandra Deo, a Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh, is believed to be the frontrunner for the cabinet slot that would be vacated by Kumar if she was elected to the LS Speaker’s post, senior Congress leader from Orissa Srikant Jena, now a Minister of State, is also reportedly keen to fill in the vacancy.

Seven sittings

The first session of the 15th LS will have seven sittings. The first two days have been kept reserved for the newly-elected MPs to take oath. Discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President would be taken up on June 5, 8 and 9.

The President in her address is likely to outline the priorities of the new government and would also spell out its action plan for the first 100 days in office. The prime minister already said reviving the economy and achieving the growth rate of 6-6.5 per cent by the end of the current fiscal would be the priorities of his new government.

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