New Delhi, Jun 19 (GCCurrentAffairs) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah’s surprise pick Om Birla, a comparative greenhorn as a lawmaker in the House of People, for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker in more ways than one pushes the theory that the saffron party is moving fast towards its next generation leadership.
Om Birla is 57 while party’s new Working President J P Nadda is 59. Coincidentally, both have the past experience of working together.
BJP insiders say Birla was the vice-president of the BJP Youth Wing when Nadda was its president; and thus both have worked closely and in close coordination with the RSS leadership and other Sangh units as well.
Of course as the presiding officer of Lok Sabha, Mr Birla – who loves to be identified also as an agriculturist – would hardly need to work in tandem with BJP’s Working President or a future party chief.
However, what goes in his favour is the vital fact that like Mr Nadda – the Kota MP also has good rapport with two key personalities in BJP today – Mr Modi and Mr Shah.
As a parliamentarian he does not have much experience as such but his soft spoken style often laced with wit would come handy in running the show where the saffron party has overwhelming majority of its alliance and of course there will be skirmishes between the ruling and the opposition benches.
Though he had preferred to remain a low profile personality, Om Birla’s social involvement and commitment to people’s cause especially during tough times is found reflected is his works during 2001 killer quake in Bhuj.
Birla had coordinated with over 100 RSS ‘selfless’ volunteers and camped at Bhuj and helped the quake victims. Incidentally, this was also the time Narendra Modi got himself ‘involved’ in Gujarat affairs after his temporary political banishment from the home state due to his differences with party veteran Keshubhai Patel.
Born on 23 November 1962, and a student of Commerce from Government Commerce College, Kota and the Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati University, Ajmer, Birla’s first electoral success came at the age of 41; when he won from Kota South assembly seat by defeating Congress heavyweight Shanti Dhariwal.
He remained a state legislator for next two terms and was picked up by then Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to serve as Parliamentary Secretary.
Those who know him say Birla has eyes for details and as a first timer MP in the 16th Lok Sabha, displayed his sincerity as he served various parliamentary committees including the Committee on Estimates, Committee on Petitions and the Standing Committee on Energy.
Birla has the experience of earning for himself the title of a ‘green Speaker’ in future.
He will also bring with him the experience of working for environment having anchored a major tree plantation programme in pollution-hit Kota under ‘Kota Green Campaign’ and is credited for involving people of all sections in the mission.
Birla also led a special campaign of distributing Tulsi sapling to every household in the town.
At 57, Birla is not the youngest Lok Sabha Speaker as the honour had gone to GMC Balayogi of TDP when he became Speaker in 1998 at the age of 46, but it is also true that most Lok Sabha Speakers have been between the age of 60 and 70.
Birla also bucks the trend as he is only a second time elected member of the House as most of his predecessors since 1950s were elected at least thrice.