- PM Modi moved the motion for Om Birla's election
- He led Om Birla to Speaker's chair after formalities were over
- Om Birla succeeds Sumitra Mahajan who did not contest the election
The BJP's senior lawmaker Om Birla was unanimously elected the new Lok Sabha Speaker today after opposition parties supported his candidature. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who moved the motion for his election, personally led him to the Speaker's chair after the formalities were over.
"Jan Seva (public service) has been the focal point of the politics of Om Birla. He is a compassionate leader who will preside over the sittings of the House," PM Modi said.
Commending the lawmaker, the Prime Minister said: "The work that you have done, the manner in which you have dedicated your life for the benefit of the nation in all your years as a legislator and a parliamentarian, is commendable".
Mr Birla, he said, had been there not only for the people of Rajasthan, but also contributed to the reconstruction efforts after the earthquake in Gujarat.
"I cannot forget how he stayed in Kutch for months when that part of Gujarat was affected by a devastating quake. In the same way, he stayed in Kedarnath for months when there were floods," he said.
There was also a pat on the back for Sumitra Mahajan, who preceded Mr Birla.
"When we look back at the previous Lok Sabha, we remember our former Speaker, from whom we learnt how to keep smiling no matter what the situation... how to handle work in a calm and balanced manner. I am sure that that is something we all have learnt from and will continue," he said.
Ms Mahajan, who turned 76, did not contest the election this time in keeping with the party's age bar.
Mr Birla, a three-time lawmaker from Rajasthan's Kota, is considered close to party chief and home minister Amit Shah. The 56-year-old had been active in politics from his student days and was the president of the BJP's state unit for six years.
Congress's Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who has been named the party's leader in the Lok Sabha, said, "As custodian of this House it is your responsibility to uphold its dignity... we assure you that the Congress will not play a negative role".
Quoting the Prime Minister, he said the focus now should be on neutrality, not opposition.
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