Maneka Gandhi will be the pro-tem or interim Speaker of the Lok Sabha instead of minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government.
Maneka Gandhi, 62, has been a minister in four governments. This time, she was missing from the group of ministers who were sworn in at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday along with PM Modi.
Maneka Gandhi will be pro-tem Speaker, which means she will administer the oath of office to the newly elected Lok Sabha MPs and also preside over the first meeting of the Lok Sabha, in which the Speaker will be elected.
The temporary Speaker had to be either Santosh Gangwar or Maneka Gandhi - who are the seniormost members of the new Lok Sabha.
The former minister won narrowly from Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh in the national election. Sultanpur was the constituency of her son Varun Gandhi, who contested and won from Pilibhit.
Maneka Gandhi is the estranged sister-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi; her husband Sanjay Gandhi was Indira Gandhi's younger son and the brother of Sonia Gandhi's husband Rajiv Gandhi.
She landed in a controversy during her campaign when she was caught on camera apparently warning a gathering of Muslims that she would "win anyway" but if that win was without the vote of Muslims, "things will turn sour".
An avid animal rights activist, Ms Gandhi in her earlier stints has been minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Culture, Environment, Women and Child Development and also Programme Implementation.
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