The members of the 17th Lok Sabha have chosen Om Birla as the Speaker. Earlier, the news of his candidature as the NDA nominee for the Speaker’s post had come as surprise to those who had expected a more familiar face to occupy the high chair in the Lower House. Mr Birla, a two-time MP from Rajasthan, succeeded the eight-time MP Sumitra Mahajan. His appointment may have come as a disappointment for some who had believed in the buzz that the eight-time MP Maneka Gandhi would be given the honour.
Om Birla seemingly lacks the stature of some of his illustrious predecessors, such as the motherly Sumitra Mahajan, or CPM stalwart Somanath Chatterjee, or the ever smiling softspoken Meira Kumar. But he may rein in the shouting MPs and control the noise in the Lower House. Incidentally, the 16th Lok Sabha witnessed unmatched shouting sessions from both treasury and opposition benches. Will the decibel level of Parliamentary affairs come down this time around, especially in view of their reduced strength?