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Is it going to be Maneka or Ahulwalia for the job of Lok Sabha Speaker?

By IndianMandarins- 14 Jun 2019


With Virendra Kumar being made pro tem Speaker for the 17th Lok Sabha, several other names are reportedly in consideration for the post of Speaker for the full term, or the next five years. Yet, the new Government, courtesy its overwhelming majority in the Lower House, appears to be allowing the issue to linger for reasons best known to its higher echelons.

 Four names in the fray:

Though the Modi government is known for often springing surprises still some of the names are doing rounds in political circles. And these are S S Ahluwalia, Maneka Gandhi, Jual Oram and Radha Mohan Singh. All four of them have been former Union Ministers.

Two ruled out:

Odisha leader Oram has already refused as he feels some more years in active politics to be his right. But the fact is that a final decision is not in his hands and the party high command has yet to decide.

Radha Mohan Singh is thought to be too mild for the kind of person the job of Speaker demands. Conventionally, S S Ahluwalia’s profile is the best suited for the task as he has the experience of seven terms in Parliament that cuts across both the Houses.

Why Ahluwalia?

As a deputy leader of the Rajya Sabha and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister, he does not only have hands on experience but has a wider acceptability in the opposition blocks as well. A Sikh as speaker will also address the issue of minority community’s inclusion. And this is going to have an added advantage of running the House by a person who will significantly bring another dose of representation to West Bengal by holding a post that is constitutionally the third top position in the country after that of President and Vice President.

 Why Maneka?

Political analysts feel that Maneka Gandhi can at times prove to be mercurial. And, thus, she might not make for the job. Yet, this perception has never been conspicuous as she never toed the line that went against the party or its top leadership. So this apprehension may well be ruled out. But if the BJP leadership decides to give the onerous responsibility to her, she may well turn out to be a success story as many unruly leaders in the Lok Sabha can be kept in control given her strong persona. Moreover, the BJP will hit two birds with one stone by humbling the Gandhis of the Congress and cut short their larger than life role in Parliament and public life.

Countering Nehru-Gandhi family:

Tussle between the two Bahus of the late Indira Gandhi is known to the world and it is generally held that it was Sonia Gandhi who was responsible for Maneka’s fall out with the family. Thus, it will be a sweet revenge if Sonia and her son keep on repeating Madam Speaker to Maneka Gandhi in the Lok Sabha and it will be rather a curious scenario to look at. Maneka is an experienced and capable leader and best qualified to take up any responsibility that the party leadership reposes in her. And this is what a section of party leaders strongly feel about her.

(By Vinod Kumar Shukla)

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