In a major development in the 17th Lok Sabha, on Tuesday, BJP MP Dr.Virendra Kumar is to be the next Protem Speaker of the newly elected Lok Sabha, according to ANI.
The race for the post was between senior BJP parliamentarians, including former Union ministers Maneka Gandhi, Radha Mohan Singh and Virender Kumar. The decision was to be finalized by June 3. Former Union ministers Jual Oram and S S Ahluwalia were also among the possible candidates.
Dr. Virendra Kumar, a six-time MP, ultimately won the post with his Dalit identity a factor working in his favour.
Eight-term MP Gandhi is the most experienced BJP lawmaker in Lok Sabha and was seen as a natural choice for the speaker's post. She was also likely to be appointed as pro-tem speaker, being the senior most parliamentarian in the seventeenth Lok Sabha. Singh too, a six-term MP, was a strong contender for the job due to his deep roots in the organisation and image of an affable and gentle leader.
The first session of the new Lok Sabha is scheduled to begin on June 17. Election to the post of the speaker will be held on June 19. The BJP-led NDA nominee is set to be elected for the post as it has nearly two-thirds majority in the 542-member house.
Narendra Modi took oath as the Prime Minister of India in the Rashtrapati Bhawan forecourt along with 35 Cabinet Ministers, 9 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 25 Ministers of State. Among the significant statistics, it was learnt that the average age of the Council of Ministers is 59.36.
The Prime Ministers's swearing-in ceremony was attended by approximately 8000 guests including VVIPs, state Chief Ministers, state unit chiefs of BJP, state ministers, present members of Parliament, former members of the Parliament and other special guests. World leaders namely - President of Bangladesh - Md. Abdul Hamid, President of Sri Lanka - Maithripala Sirisena, President of the Kyrgyz Republic - Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of Myanmar - U Win Myint, Prime Minister of Mauritius - Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Nepal - K.P. Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Bhutan - Dr. Lotay Tshering and Special Envoy of Thailand - Mr. Grisada Boonrach were present for the oath-taking.
A few who were absent from the evening's proceedings are Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, Telangana Chief KC Rao, Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, and Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.