Om Birla, BJP lawmaker from Rajasthan’s Kota, is the new Lok Sabha Speaker. Birla is a two-time MP. If elected, Birla will replace previous Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. The Speaker of 16th Lok Sabha, Mahajan didn’t contest this year’s General Elections. Om Birla's name was proposed by PM Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha and was supported by all major parties including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, DMK and BJD.
On Birla's election as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, PM Modi said, "It is a matter of great pride for the House and we all congratulate Om Birla Ji on being unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Many MPs know Birla Ji well. He has served in the state of Rajasthan as well. Personally, I remember working with Om Birla Ji for a long time. He represents Kota,a place that is mini-India, land associated with education and learning. He has been in public life for years. He began as a student leader and has been serving society since then without a break."
The 56-year-old has completed his education from two colleges in Kota and Ajmer in Rajasthan. According to a government site, he also served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Government of Rajasthan from 2003 to 2008. Birla is known for his extensive work in social sector. He has led several voluntary missions during national calamities such as floods and earthquakes. In 2001, Birla led the relief team of more than 100 voluntary workers including doctors to help the victims of Gujarat earthquake.
The Congress and other UPA allies supported Om Birla's candidature for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker. The announcement was made by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury – Congress leader in the Lok Sabha. However, he remained silent on the issue of Deputy Speaker.
Chowdhury said the Congress has already moved a motion supporting the ruling party candidate for the post of Speaker of Lok Sabha. The decision was taken a meeting of the UPA allies in Parliament this evening, where the leaders also discussed the opposition strategy during the Parliament session.
The Congress and other opposition parties, have however, not decided on the strategy for the post of deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and are adopting a "wait and watch" policy.
Birla has been a member of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh. The official website says that Birla was also imprisoned in Uttar Pradesh ‘due to active participation in Ram Mandir construction movement.’ He has also been credited for leading a movement that helped Kota city getting the IIT.
Usually, seniority is considered for Lok Sabha speaker's post but there have been instances when first-time and second-time lawmakers were elected for the chair. Manohar Joshi, who was elected as Lok Sabha speaker in 2002, was then a first-time MP. He had succeed GMC Balayogi, a second-time MP who died in a helicopter crash.