Tough task ahead for new Speaker
The Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha and the second woman to hold the prestigious post, Sumitra Mahajan, has a daunting responsibility in the years to come. Mahajan, an eight-time BJP parliamentarian, would head a legislative house that is answerable to the largest democracy in the world and has illustrious predecessors, who were known for their stature within the party and rapport outside of it, cutting across policy and ideological divide. Interestingly, Mahajan is the first BJP member of Parliament to be elected to this post, a historical achievement in itself and reflective of the ‘Modified’ times we are living in. Moreover, she’s the longest serving woman legislator in the lower house of Parliament, and has just the right amicable temperament to lead the significant floor that had been marred in the previous few sessions by a peculiar politics of obstructionism. Ironically, it was the BJP, then the main opposition, that was responsible for most of the stonewalling of the Lok Sabha proceedings, and Meira Kumar, Mahajan’s predecessor and the first woman and Dalit Speaker, didn’t set a great precedent in managing the daily ruckus in Parliament. However, unlike Kumar, Mahajan is known for her calm demeanour in the face of adversity and might be able to contain the factions better and salvage the lost glory of Parliament, hopefully.
The office of the Speaker has a hallowed position in our parliamentary democracy, representing in itself the authority of legislature in its entirety. Dignity and incorruptibility are the cornerstones of the post, as well as an impeccable personal character. Since every action of the Speaker would get magnified a hundred fold when emulated by the MPs, the post bears a particular significance matched and balanced only by that of the Prime Minister’s. While the legislature is responsible for making and reviewing the laws needed to govern and do justice to the huge country such as ours, the Speaker symbolises the power entrusted in this pillar of democracy, and whose relevance does not automatically end with the dissolution of the House. She’s the head of the Lok Sabha Secretariat which functions under her final control and direction, thereby making her the ultimate authority on all matters pertaining to discipline, logistics, order and law by which to function within lower house of Parliament. Impartiality and outstanding personal integrity aside, Mahajan has the delicate task of ensuring smooth working of the Lok Sabha.We wish the new Speaker
all the best in her role.