Does Lok Sabha Speaker and eight-time MP from Indore Sumitra Mahajan’s move to give up claim on ticket to contest Lok Sabha polls marks the end of an era? “Seems so. A seasoned politician like Mahajan does not make such an announcement until there are feelers from higher command that she is not going to get a ticket this time,” said a senior BJP functionary.
He also cited statement of BJP president Amit Shah who had stated that the party has decided not to give ticket to any candidate above 75 years of age. Mahajan is above 75. She is turning 76 next week. She is the only parliamentarian in the Indian history to have won eight times in row from the same Lok Sabha constituency. Born in a Chitpavan family at Chiplun in Maharashtra, Mahajan started her political journey from Indore years after marriage.
Initially, she used to give religious discourses among small groups of women. Mahajan became a corporator in 1982 and served as deputy mayor in 1984. In 1985, she was fielded by BJP against Congress heavyweight Mahesh Joshi from Indore-3 assembly constituency but lost. After that she did not want to be in active politics but BJP fielded her against former chief minister and three-time MP Prakash Chandra Sethi. She defeated Sethi by more than one lakh votes.
And since then there was no looking back to Mahajan, endearingly called “Tai” (elder sister in Marathi). Within the BJP, Mahajan has grown from being President of BJP Mahila Morcha in Madhya Pradesh in 1990 to being the national general secretary in 1998. Mahajan was vice president of party’s Madhya Pradesh unit in 1992 and later Secretary of BJP’s MP unit before becoming chairperson of the BJP Parliamentary Party in the state in 1995. Besides, she was BJP Mahila Morcha head in 2005.
As a Parliamentarian, Mahajan has been a member of various committees including those on human resource development and its sub-committee on value-based education, convener of the sub-committee on drug control, joint committee on empowerment of women and its sub-committee on appraisal of laws relating to women—criminal laws. She has also been chairperson of the committee on social justice and empowerment as well as of standing committee on rural development.
Second lady LS Speaker
Mahajan was the second woman after Congress party’s Meira Kumar to be elected as Lok Sabha Speaker. She was a minister of state in Atal Behari Vajpayee cabinet from 1999 to 2004, holding different portfolios of human resources, communications and IT and petroleum and natural gas.
Leaders reach Tai’s place
After her letter went viral on social media, senior BJP leaders reached her residence to show solidarity. Mayor Malini Gaud, Indore-2 MLA Ramesh Mendola, Sudarshan Gupta, city BJP president Gopi Nema and other senior leaders held meeting with Mahajan and expressed their support for her. In the evening, Governor Anandiben Patel also called on Tai.