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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Om Birla: From a grassroot leader to two-time LS Speaker

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In a rare feat, Om Birla was on Wednesday elected as Lok Sabha speaker for second time in a row, defeating Congress’ K Suresh.

He is the fifth Speaker after M A Ayyangar, G S Dhillon, Balram Jakhar and GMC Balayogi to hold the office for the second successive time.

Member of Parliament from Rajasthan’s Kota, Om Birla was the surprise pick for Lok Sabha speaker’s post in the 17th Lok Sabha but his re-election appeared certain this time as the Modi 3.0 government has been signalling continuity in top positions.

A grassroot leader who rose through the ranks in the BJP, Birla is credited with successfully running the 17th Lok Sabha despite deep fault lines between ruling party and the Opposition. He often drew the Opposition’s ire too for suspending members from the House for ‘indiscipline’.

Controversies apart, Birla certainly stood out for allowing members of Lok Sabha more time to raise people’s issues and participate in the discussions. In the 17th Lok Sabha, extending sittings beyond the scheduled timing and delaying lunch hours had become virtually a norm.

In the new Lok Sabha, Birla’s task seems to be even more challenging considering that the Opposition’s numbers have significantly improved. Moreover, the Opposition has already put a flanking strategy in place to put the government in the dock.

Born on November 23, 1962, Birla started out as a student leader and later became a member of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly for three consecutive terms. He was first elected for Lok Sabha in 2014 from Kota. He has been representing the parliamentary constituency since then. In the general election 2024, he again won the seat with a margin of 41,974 votes defeating his nearest rival from Indian National Congress.

Om Birla holds a Masters degree in Commerce from Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University. He is married to Amita Birla and has two daughters.

While addressing Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Om Birla for being re-elected as Speaker and said, “Your sweet smile keeps the entire House happy.”

Leader of Opposition (LoP) Rahul Gandhi also congratulated Birla and accompanied him to the Chair along with PM Modi and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju.

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