New Delhi: With the first session of the new Lok Sabha set to begin in a fortnight, all eyes are now on the choice of the Speaker who will conduct the proceedings of House over the next five years.
Among the names doing the rounds are Jual Oram, Virendra Kumar, S.S. Ahluwalia, Ramesh Jigajinagi and Radha Mohan Singh.
Former Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram is a five-time MP and comes from Odisha, which is not a traditional stronghold of the BJP, but where the party has been improving its performance consistently.
Oram was country’s first minister for tribal affairs has won from Sundargarh in 1998, 1999 and 2004. In 2009, he lost to former Congress Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal, before winning the seat back in 2014. Soft-spoken, Oram is a major tribal face of the BJP.
Ahluwalia, a six-time Member of Parliament and former Union minister, is seen as a strong contender for the post. A four-term Rajya Sabha member, Ahluwalia won the Lok Sabha polls from Burdwan-Durgapur Lok Sabha seat in West Bengal. In 2014, he had won from Darjeeling.
The factors going in favour of Ahluwalia are his being a member from West Bengal, a state where BJP performed very credibly in the Lok Sabha elections. He is a fluent in Bangla apart from Hindi, English and Punjabi. Ahluwalia belongs to the minority community and has a strong presence in the House. He has been a junior parliamentary affairs minister and also has been Deputy Leader of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha.
Ahluwalia has studied law and is well versed in parliamentary procedures and rules.
He was first elected to the Parliament as a Rajya Sabha MP from Bihar in 1986 as a Congress member. He was again nominated by the party for the second consecutive term in 1992 and was inducted as a minister in the government headed by former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.
He later joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was sent to the Upper House again in 2000.
Virendra Kumar is into his seventh term as an MP and comes from Madhya Pradesh, a factor which may work against him as the outgoing Speaker Sumitra Mahajan also hails from the state.
Kumar is seen to be down-to-earth and served as a Minister of State in the previous Modi government. He is a prominent Dalit face of the party.
Radha Mohan Singh, who was Agriculture Minister in the previous government, is also seen to be a contender for the post. Singh is into his sixth term from Lok Sabha and represents Purvi Champaran constituency of Bihar.
Ramesh Jigajinagi is a former union minister and hails from Karnataka where the BJP performed very well despite Congress and JD-S fighting the polls together. He is into his sixth term and represents Bijapur constituency.
Although several names are doing the rounds, Modi is known for springing a surprise.
A factor that is expected to guide the choice of the new Speaker is knowledge of rules and procedures and the ability to carry along the entire House.
The first session of the 17th Lok Sabha will begin on June 17 and election of new Speaker will take place on June 19. The President will address a joint sitting of the two houses on June 20. The parliament session will continue till July 26 and budget will be presented on July 5.
The first task before the government is selection of Protem Speaker who will administer the oath to the newly-elected members.
The name would be finalised by the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry and the Protem Speaker will be administered the oath by the President.
Being the senior most MP, former union minister Maneka Gandhi is expected to be made Protem Speaker.
The nomination forms for the new Speaker are likely to be filled on June 18 and there will be a contest if opposition decides to put up a candidate.