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Long LS stint makes Gangwar, Prahlad Joshi, Prahlad Patel and Tomar front-runners for Speaker’s job
New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The countdown for the election of the new Lok Sabha Speaker will begin only after formation of the government on May 30, but there are several names doing the rounds for the most prestigious post in Parliament.
Among those who can replace Sumitra Mahajan are Santosh Gangwar, Pralhad Joshi, Prahlad Patel and Narendra Singh Tomar.
The seat of the Lok Sabha Speaker is considered among the most prestigious posts in Parliament. The Speaker is the highest authority in the House and also the custodian of the Parliament building.
Gangwar is the seniormost BJP parliamentarian in the 17th Lok Sabha, who has won eight elections from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.
He is being considered most suitable for the post as he has served at several key positions in the party as well as the government.
Gangwar, a prominent OBC face of the party, hails from Kurmi community. He won his first Lok Sabha poll in 1989.
The people chosen as Speakers are usually senior parliamentarians who are respected across party lines.
A law graduate from Rohilkhand University, Gangwar will turn 72 this year in November. In the next Lok Sabha polls he will cross the unofficial age limit of 75 and is unlikely to be fielded again for the Lok Sabha polls.
He has also served as Union parliamentary affairs minister and enjoys good rapport with opposition leaders.
The 17th Lok Sabha’s first session is likely to start from June 6 and go on till June 15, sources have said.
Current Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, an eight-term parliamentarian, announced her decision to not fight the Lok Sabha polls after the BJP dragged its feet over her candidature from Indore.
Mahajan, whose popularity cuts across parties, was unanimously elected to the post in June 2014. She is the second woman Speaker in the Lok Sabha’s 67 years. The first woman Speaker, Congress’s Meira Kumar, was Mahajan’s immediate predecessor.
President Ram Nath Kovind will address the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament on June 6, the first day of the session. A pro-tem speaker of the Lok Sabha is also likely to be appointed the same day.
The pro-tem speaker will administer the oath of office to all the newly elected MPs before the speaker’s election expected on June 10, the sources said.
Like Gangwar, Maneka Gandhi is also an eight-term MP and is seen as a string contender for the post, but sources in BJP said that she is most likely to get a cabinet berth.
"The Lok Sabha Speaker should be humble and soft spoken. Maneka doesn’t fits in it," a BJP leader told IANS on the conditions of anonymity.
Pralhad Joshi, who hails from Karnataka, could also be party’s choice for the post.
He won his fourth consecutive term as an MP from Dharwad in Karnataka.
Since BJP has done exceptionally well in the state in Lok Sabha polls, the party could give this post to a leader from South India. Among Southern states, the BJP failed to open its account in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. However, it won four seats in Telangana.
Joshi’s election to the post could send positive signals in the southern states.
Names of Patel and Tomar are also doing the rounds for the constitutional post but sources in BJP said they can be picked as ministers in government.
Tomar and Patel both hails from Madhya Pradesh and has held several positions in the previous governments. Tomar was Rural Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the outgoing cabinet, Patel was a Minister of State in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Tomar, an upper caste leader, also earned the reputation of being cordial with opposition parties during his earlier stint as parliamentary affairs minister.
Patel is a Lodh face of the party. As Uma Bharti is unlikely to be given a berth in the Modi government, Patel, as a Lodh leader can replace him in the ministry.