Meira Kumar, front runner for Lok Sabha SpeakerMay 31st, 2009 | By Elections2009 | Category: Lead
|If elected, she will be the first woman to hold this post in the Lower House|
NEW DELHI: Senior Congress Member of Parliament Meira Kumar has emerged the front runner for Lok Sabha Speaker. If elected, she will be the first woman Speaker of the House.
Readying the agenda: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presides over a Cabinet meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, where implementation of a 100-day action plan was discussed. Below is Union Minister Meira Kumar.
The election for the prestigious constitutional post is to be held on June 3.
The decision was taken at a Congress Core Group meeting held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence late on Saturday. A formal announcement is expected in a day or two.
Ms. Kumar, a five-time MP, who won the recent election from Sasaram in Bihar, took charge as Water Resources Minister on Friday. A former Indian Foreign Service officer and daughter of Congress stalwart Babu Jagjiwan Ram, Ms. Kumar will now have to resign as Minister.
Several names, including that of Girija Vyas, MP from Chhittorgarh in Rajasthan and chairperson of the National Commission for Women, were mentioned at the meeting. Sources in the Congress said the party had “made up its mind to put up a woman and the two names were seriously considered.
Senior Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh Kishore Chandra Deo emerged the key contender till recently, but the Congress believes that he will not find support from the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Core Group meeting was attended by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Meanwhile, President Pratibha Patil has appointed senior Congress MP Manikrao Gavit protem Speaker. He will administer the oath to the new MPs and perform duties until a Speaker is elected.
Mr. Gavit is the seniormost member of the Lok Sabha with an experience of 27 years and 8 months. He has been elected from Nandurbar in Maharashtra.
The President also announced a panel comprising Arjun Charan Sethi (BJD), Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M), Biren Singh Engti (Congress) and Sumitra Mahajan (BJP) to administer the oath to the new members.
In another development, the Cabinet discussed and approved the President’s address to the joint session scheduled for June 4.
It was the first meeting of the expanded Cabinet, to which Ministers of State holding independent charge were also invited.
Dr. Singh, who presided over the meeting, is understood to have held discussions with his Ministers on implementing the 100-day action plan of the United Progressive Alliance government.
The President’s address is expected to unveil the government’s agenda for the year ahead in tune with the policies and programmes of the ruling party and its allies.
The address is likely to incorporate the government’s focus on the social and infrastructure sectors and place emphasis on strengthening schemes such as the NREGA, and economic policies to be followed in the wake of the global recession and promises to the weaker sections.
PM’s offer to BJP
Dr. Singh called up senior BJP leader L.K. Advani and is said to have offered the post of Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker to the BJP, party sources said.