Who is Ritu Khanduri? The first woman speaker of Uttarakhand assembly
Daughter of former chief minister of Uttarakhand Major General (Retd) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri, Ritu Khanduri won the 2022 assembly elections by defeating Congress' Surendra Singh Negi from the Kotdwar seat by a margin of 3,687 votes.
Ritu Khanduri Bhushan, Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) MLA from Uttarakhand's Kotdwar assembly, became the first woman speaker of the state assembly on Saturday. She was unanimously elected unopposed for the post, and has become the speaker of the fifth Uttarakhand legislative assembly.
Ritu filed her nomination papers before the secretary of the legislative assembly Mukesh Singhal in presence of chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and other senior BJP leaders, in Dehradun on Thursday.
Soon after her election, she took to Twitter to express her “gratitude and thanks” to all BJP members and the opposition. “I will discharge the highest parliamentary ideals and traditions to the best of my abilities,” her post on the micro-blogging site, roughly translated from Hindi, read.
Speaking to reporters, she said it is not only a “proud moment” for her “but the entire Uttarakhand too” that a woman has been elected unopposed as the Speaker.
“I am delighted. This is an honour for women, for Uttarakhand,” she was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Congratulating her, Dhami said Ritu will “run the House well” and the Uttarakhand assembly “will create new history under her leadership”.
Who is Ritu Khanduri?
Ritu is the daughter of former Uttarakhand chief minister and Union minister Major General (Retd) Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri. She is the wife of Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, who has been one of the vital figures in India's fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
Ritu contested the 2022 Uttarakhand assembly elections from the Kotdwar assembly constituency after being denied party ticket from her seat - Yamkeshwar.
She defeated Congress' Surendra Singh Negi, who had defeated her father from the same seat in 2012 assembly elections. This time, she won the Kotdwar seat by a margin of 3,687 votes.
In 2017, Ritu was elected as an MLA from the Yamkeshwar assembly seat in Uttarakhand's Pauri Garhwal district. She had defeated independent candidate Renu Bisht.
Her father, senior Khanduri, was the chief minister of Uttarakhand between 2007 and 2009, and then again from 2011-2012 before losing the Kotdwar seat to Negi. He, however, won in 2014 general elections from the Pauri Garhwal seat.
In 2019 assembly elections, the senior Khanduri refused to contest citing age-related problems. Following this, Tirath Singh Rawat - the former chief minister of Uttarakhand, contested from the Pauri Garhwal seat and won against Khanduri's son, Manish Khanduri, who fought on a Congress ticket.
(With inputs from bureau)