Transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari was on Wednesday given additional charge of rural development, panchayati raj and drinking water and sanitation, the portfolios held by Gopinath Munde, who died in a car crash in the city on Tuesday.
In another important appointment, eight-time MP from Indore Sumitra Mahajan is all set to be elected Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha on Friday. The newly-constituted House met for the first time Wednesday on a sombre note and adjourned for the day after paying tribute to Munde.
Before the House assembled, former Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath of the Congress was sworn in as pro-tem speaker by President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
When elected, Mahajan, 72, will be the second woman to hold the key position after outgoing Speaker Meira Kumar. “She was the unanimous choice of the party for the post,” a cabinet minister told HT.
But before the Speaker is elected, MPs will take oath as members of the lower house of parliament, a formality that will start on Thursday and continue till Friday afternoon.
Read: New LS session adjourned after tributes to Munde
Mahajan started her career as corporator of the Indore Municipal Corporation in 1982. She was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989 and has since then got elected to the lower house eight times in a row. She was a minister of state in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government from 1999 to 2004.
The experienced legislator had competition from Jharkhand veteran Karia Munda — also an eight-time MP — for the seat. BJP veteran LK Advani had earlier expressed his desire for the post and at one point Murli Manohar Joshi’s name was also considered.
Government sources said no decision has been taken for the deputy speaker’s post, but giving the chair to AIADMK, the single largest party after Congress, was under active consideration.