Om Birla all set to be Lok Sabha Speaker

Om Birla

Senior BJP leader Om Birla is all set to be the Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha after the government secured support for him cutting across party lines.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari signed draft motions proposing the 56-year-old's name. The motion will be moved in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday and is expected to be approved unanimously.

Birla is a second-term member from the Kota-Bundi Parliamentary seat. He has risen through the ranks in the BJP, having been part of the its youth wing since 1987. He was the president of the Rajasthan unit of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha and went on to become the national vice-president.

A reluctant entrant to electoral politics, Birla defeated Congress stalwart Shanti Dhariwal from the Kota South Assembly seat in 2003. He made his Lok Sabha debut in 2014 from the Kota-Bundi constituency and was re-elected in the recent general elections.

He will succeed Sumitra Mahajan, an eight-term parliamentarian.

"BJD, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, National People's Party, Mizo National Front, Akali Dal, LJP, YSRCP, JD(U) and Apna Dal leaders have also signed the motion proposing Birla's candidature," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters here.

Joshi also reached out to Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Kodikunnil Suresh, who also agreed to sign the motion supporting Birla's candidature.

"I have already signed the motion in Birla's favour," said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha.

The names of former union ministers Radha Mohan Singh, S S Ahluwalia and Maneka Gandhi were also talked about in political circles, but the BJP opted for Birla.

Congress leader Balram Jakhar and Shiv Sena leader Mahohar Joshi were elected as Lok Sabha speakers in their first term in the lower house. Jakhar holds the unique distinction of serving for two successive terms from 1980-89.

TDP leader G M C Balayogi was also elected as Lok Sabha Speaker in his second term as the member of the lower house in 1998. Balayogi was re-elected after the mid-term elections in 1999. He died in a helicopter crash in 2002, following which Joshi was appointed Speaker.

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