Ganpat Vasava, the BJP MLA from Mangrol constituency in Surat, was unanimously selected the new speaker of Gujarat Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, a day before the Budget session of the assembly begins. His nomination to the post comes in the wake of death of assembly speaker Ashok Bhatt in September last year.
Vasava, two-time MLA from Mangrol, becomes the 16th speaker of Gujarat assembly, the first person from tribal community to do so. He is also yet to complete 40 years, and is the youngest speaker in the state’s history.
Born at Vadi village in Surat’s Umarpada taluka on June 1, 1971, Vasava is an MA with Gujarati. He was first elected to the state assembly from Mangrol constituency in 2002 and was re-elected in 2007.
Vasava’s elevation as speaker has come as a surprise to many, as usually the post is filled by a senior MLA. However, the move is being seen as chief minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to make further inroads into the tribal areas, which are traditionally Congress strongholds.
Vasava has been heading the Scheduled Tribes Welfare Committee of the State Assembly for two terms, and has been actively involved in various activities for uplift and development of tribal population. He is also a member of Business Advisory Committee, Forests & Environment Committee, MLA Housing Committee, Privilege Committee, among others.
He was director of Gujarat State Forest Development Corporation, besides holding key posts in a number of village, taluka, district and state-level organisations.
He has also served as director of Umarpada APMC and president of Umarpada Taluka Quarry Association. Vasava, who also served in various capacities in the organization of BJP, resigned from the post of Gujarat BJP secretary after his selection as the assembly speaker. He handed over the resignation to the party’s state vice president Kanaji Thakore on Wednesday.
He has keen interest in a wide range of activities, including education, sports, and social work. Meanwhile, the opposition Congress, which supported Vasava’s nomination, has demanded the post of deputy speaker. Leader of opposition in the state assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil, said that as per convention the deputy speaker’s post is given to the main opposition party. He asked the ruling BJP to continue the tradition by giving the deputy speaker’s post to the Congress. The opposition congratulated the new speaker and urged him to uphold the high democratic traditions in the House.