Meet Om Birla, India's Ruling Party BJP's Face for the Lok Sabha Speaker
BJP bets on two-term MP Om Birla for the Speaker's post in the 17th Lok Sabha
After serving a successful term as the Lok Sabha speaker, Sumitra Mahajan is all set to hand over her duties to the two-time BJP MP Om Birla. While the Parliament will miss the much-loved "Tai', there's much the new speaker will bring along to contribute to his role. The speaker elections though, are scheduled for June 19, the opposition has reportedly accepted his nomination, unanimously.
Let's take a peek into knowing Om Birla:
A party veteran Birla has been active in politics right from his student days. His tryst with active politics started as Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha's State unit president, a position he held for six years in the 1990s before taking a bigger role as a district-level leader for four years. In 2003, he contested his first assembly election and defeated Congress stalwart Shanti Dhariwal to the Kota South Assembly seat.
The BJP leader then proceeded to defend his seat in two consecutive elections before contesting his first parliamentary election in 2014 when he defeated sitting Congress MP Ijyaraj Singh. Again in 2019, he emerged victorious by defeating Congress candidate and former MP Ramnarayan Meena.
The Change Maker
Being a three-time lawmaker from Rajasthan, Birla has been often credited for bringing organizational revamp to the state unit of BJP when he served as the Minister of State (MoS) for parliamentary affairs for the Rajasthan government for four years between 2004 and 2008.
Having joined politics early on, Birla has served on multiple positions over the years. His parliamentary involvements included membership at the Standing Committee on Energy and the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, where he helped in the launch "Super Bazar' scheme in Rajasthan.
The Game Winner
Notably, Birla's nomination has brought an end to the National Democratic Alliance's unnamed policy of nominating only an experienced parliamentarian to the post. At 57, Birla has been MLA from Rajasthan thrice and MP twice. It won't be wrong to say that his selection by BJP has changed the game.
Be it the 10-term Lok Sabha MP Somnath Chatterjee in 2004 or 5-term Lok Sabha MP Meira Kumar who succeeded him as the speaker in 2009 and of course, the eight-term MP Sumitra Mahajan, all past speakers have brought significant experience to the table.
A Quintessential BJP Face
Considered a senior leader representing the Vaishya community in the BJP, Birla was imprisoned in Uttar Pradesh due to active participation in the Ram Mandir movement. A primary member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, as his profile identifies him, Birla is considered extremely close to BJP chief and Home Minister Amit Shah.
His recent speeches during Lok Sabha election campaign also proved him a loyalist of Prime Minister Narendra Modi where Birla sought votes in his name. In several election rallies, he stressed that every vote cast for him would "facilitate another term for Modi" as Prime Minister.