All decks have been cleared for India to elect its first woman Speaker. Congress leader Meira Kumar tendered her resignation this evening as Union Water Resources Minister. A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson confirmed that President Pratibha Patil had accepted the resignation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold the Water Resources portfolio for now.
The expected formal announcement of the Congress nominee for the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post did not come on Sunday despite indications that Union Water Resources Minister Meira Kumar could be the first woman to preside over the Lower House.
“Things should be clear in a day or two,” Congress spokesman Satyavrat Chaturvedi told HT. The election for the post would be held on June 3.
Earlier on Sunday, 64-year-old Kumar met Congress president Sonia Gandhi (62) at 10, Janpath to discuss the issue. Later Lok Sabha Secretary General P.D.T. Achary also called on her.
The meetings came a day after she emerged as the frontrunner for the post, pipping Congress veterans V. Kishore Chandra Deo (62) and Girija Vyas (62).
The Congress has offered the Deputy Speaker’s post to the BJP, which is expected to nominate six-time MP Sumitra Mahajan (66) to the post.
Kumar, daughter of late Dalit leader and former deputy Prime Minister Babu Jagjivan Ram, was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from Sasaram constituency in Bihar.