BJP’s surprise pick for Speaker Om Birla

BJP has picked another surprise choice. Indicating a complete generation change in the BJP, it has decided to field Kota MP from Rajasthan Om Birla as Speaker of 17th Lok Sabha, putting aside several `high profile’ names, which are being going rounds since last couple of days.

Birla is just a second term MP and the BJP leadership ignored many veterans to choose the 56-year-old MP of Kota in Rajasthan. Birla won his first parliamentary election in 2014 and got re-elected from the desert state that the BJP swept despite losing the last year’s assembly election.

Om Birla is a three-term member of Rajasthan assembly, and has worked closely with former chief minister Vasundhara Raje. He was a parliamentary secretary to the government of Rajasthan between 2004 and 2008.

Considered close to Home Minister Amit Shah, Om Birla was also the national vice president of BJP’s youth wing, the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha, that he had once headed in Rajasthan for six years. Birla has earned for himself the reputation of a social worker who helped differently-abled persons and helpless women.

He led a relief team of more than 100 voluntary workers including doctors to help the victims of Gujarat earthquake in January 2001. He was also imprisoned during movement to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

The BJP polled 58.47% votes in Rajasthan, second highest after Himachal Pradesh, and the overwhelming support reflected in the union council of ministers, which has 3 members from the desert state. While Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is a cabinet minister; Arjun Ram Meghwal and Kailash Choudhary are ministers of state in the union government. Birla is the fourth leader from the state to get a ‘position of prominenc.

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