Suspense grows as seniority list drawn for speaker’s post
If one goes by seniority in number of Lok Sabha terms among the 303 BJP MPs, Maneka Gandhi, with eight terms, is the senior most.
If one goes by seniority in number of Lok Sabha terms among the 303 BJP MPs, Maneka Gandhi, with eight terms, is the senior most. She was elected to the ninth Lok Sabha for the first time and then has been a member of the Lower House continuously from the 11th Lok Sabha onwards. However, the party brass may not propose her name, BJP insiders said.
Virendra Kumar, a seven-term MP from Tikamgarh reserved seat in Madhya Pradesh, comes second. He has been a member since 1996 when he won this seat for the first time in the 11th Lok Sabha. Kumar was minister of state in the ministry of women and child development (headed by Maneka) and MoS in the minority affairs ministry in the previous Narendra Modi government. He was not made a minister this time.
The name of SS Ahluwalia is also doing the rounds due to his knowledge and understanding of legislative work since 1986. Ahluwalia has served four terms in the Rajya Sabha starting out as a Congress MP under prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1986 before switching over to BJP. He won the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and was elected from Durgapur-Bardhaman this time.
Ahluwalia has good parliamentary experience as he has served as BJP’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha. He was also minister of state for parliamentary affairs for some time in the previous government. However, his Congress background may be a drawback.
Among the six-term BJP MPs in this Lok Sabha are former agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, who won from East Champaran, and BJP’s former Madhya Pradesh unit chief Nand Kumar Singh Chouhan, who won from Khandwa.