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Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's challenge — solo members and small parties

Saturday, 7 June 2014 - 6:45am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

  • The newly elected speaker of Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan after the Parliament got adjorned during the first session of 16th Lok Sabha in New Delhi on Friday Arijit Sen dna

The Speaker's post was the BJP's (280 members) by right. It did not have to look over the shoulder or negotiate. The other major parties led by the Congress (44), AIADMK (37), TMC (34), BJD (20) supported BJP nominee Sumitra Mahajan, a ninth-time member from Indore, for the post.

It had become in the hour of felicitation speeches of all the party leaders in the House, that it was the smaller parties that spoke out about the need to be given a fair deal in the proceedings, keeping in mind the comfortable majority enjoyed by the ruling party, and the apprehension that the other parties with numbers ranging from 44 of the Congress to 20 of the BJD, it is the parties with one, two, three members who sought their share of time.

Prime minister Narendra Modi assured her the support of the whole House in the smooth conduct of the business of the House and quoted in Sanskrit: "mahajana yena gatah panthah (The others should go where the great ones go)", saying that the House has a Mahajan as Speaker. Congress leader in the House, Mallikarjun Kharge, quoted an Urdu couplet: "Hayaat lekar chalo, kaaynaat lekar chalo/chalo toh saare zamaane ko saath lekar chalo (Take life along with you, the world with you as you go along, And take along with you the whole world)."

AIADMK leader Thambidurai mentioned that there were four women chief ministers in the state and he came from one of them, and it was because of the woman-power of his party leader and chief minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa that the AIADMK won 37 of the 39 seats in the state.

TMC's Sudeep Bandopadhyaya in his congratulatory speech referred to West Bengal chief minister and party supremo Mamata Banejrjee and said that 11 of the 34 members of his contingent were women.

What was more interesting were the statements of the smaller parties, starting with Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP. She said that though her party had only three members, the House should hear the issue of Kashmir. Asaduddin Owaisi, the lone member from the Majli Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) quoted from Nehru, the first prime minister, who said that the Speaker represented the House and the country and emphasised that Speaker Mahajan should give enough time to his party to discuss the issues pertaining to Muslims.

EA Ahmed of the Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML) pointed out that there are 10 parties in the new House with single members each, and there are about six parties with two, and urged that Mahajan should keep in mind that these small parties represent people and so they should be allowed to "ventilate" the feelings of the people they represent.

Anupriya Singh Patel of Apna Dal, which is a part of the NDA, expressed the hope and confidence that Mahajan would keep in mind the interests of small parties like her's, which has just two members in the House.

In her reply, Speaker Mahajan took into consideration the concerns of the small parties. She said that as a person who fought elections she understood the feelings of the MPs and she said that she would do what she can to allow MPs to speak up on issues.

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