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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Speaker Om Birla to contest against former BJP colleague for Kota seat

Birla is synonymous with Kota. Even with his busy Parliamentary schedule, he has made time to return to his constituency time and again, accessible to the common people and solving their problems when he can.
Last Updated : 07 April 2024, 12:25 IST
Last Updated : 07 April 2024, 12:25 IST

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BJP candidate from Kota and Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla, 62, is said to be close to the top two BJP strongmen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah. Birla was a surprise choice for the important post in 2019 as he was then a relatively unknown politician outside Rajasthan.

But it is said the big two were returning a favour when they made him the Speaker. The story goes that Birla is said to have given shelter to Shah at his farmhouse in Kala Pahar village in Rawatbhata when Shah was being hounded for his alleged involvement in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, which took place in 2005.

Born into a Hindu Marwari Baniya family with father as a shopkeeper, Birla says, in one of his interviews, that he knew he wanted to be in politics from day one. And that is why he started off early in school at the age of 17. Then he became the president of the students association of the Government Senior Secondary School in Gumanpura in Kota in 1979.

With a strong RSS background, he became the district president of Bharatiya Yuva Morcha in 1987. From then on he has never looked back, rising up the party’s ladder steadily. He had also led a team to Ayodhya during the Ram Janamabhoomi movement and was even imprisoned.

A commerce postgraduate, he became a legislator from Kota (South) in 2003 defeating Congress’s strongman Shanti Dhariwal. In 2008, he won against Congress by a margin of over 24000 votes. He also won for the straight third time in a row in 2013 but later fought for the Lok Sabha, winning it easily. He retained his seat in 2019 and was unanimously chosen the Speaker.

Married to Amita Birla and with two daughters, Birla has been actively indulging in philanthropic and charitable activities in Kota and surroundings. Helping senior citizens, disabled, poor, he makes it a point to perform the cremation rites of individuals who have no one to care for them. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often hailed him as a leader who has devoted himself to “jan seva (public service).”

Birla is synonymous with Kota. Even with his busy Parliamentary schedule, he has made time to return to his constituency time and again, accessible to the common people and solving their problems when he can.

But he has a tough fight ahead this time against Congress candidate Prahlad Gunjal, who happened to be his colleague in the party till a few days ago.

Modi has said many times, “Public service has been the focal point of the politics of Om Birla. He is a compassionate leader who will preside over the House.” But many MPs would not agree with Modi’s assessment as Birla disqualified as many as 146 MPs after they wanted a discussion in the House on the recent security breach in the Parliament. Many may call him partisan as he did not agree to the Opposition’s demand for a statement by home minister Amit Shah.

However, when he assumed charge, he was magnanimous as he gave equal opportunity to all MPs, especially the first-timers and women to voice their concerns. Many say he has handled disruptions adeptly, has been seen smiling even under pressure. And often delighted with his pure, chaste Hindi.

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Published 07 April 2024, 12:25 IST

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