JAIPUR: Om Birla, BJP MP from Kota-Bundi parliamentary constituency of Rajasthan, was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha, on Wednesday. Soon after his nomination on Tuesday, Om went to meet BJP Executive President JP Nadda.
He is considered close to PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and is the first public representative from Rajasthan's Hadoti region to be made LS speaker.
The 57-year-old two-time MP defeated Ramnarayan Meena of Congress by 2,79,677 votes and got a total of 8,00,051 votes. He has been a legislator three times before and has never seen defeat in a single election, with his victory margin rising each time.
Birla was the president of the Rajasthan unit of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
On Tuesday morning, as soon as the news came in, his supporters were delighted. Supporters and activists from the Hadoti region congratulated him.
Om's wife Amita Birla remarked: "This is a very proud moment for us. We are very grateful to the Cabinet for choosing him."
Om Birla was born on December 4, 1962, in Kota. He started his political career from student politics at the age of 17. He was students’ union president of the government senior secondary school, Gumanpura, Kota in 1978. He has also served as president of the Kota cooperative consumer wholesale store limited.
Birla was a parliamentary secretary in former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje's government from 2003 to 2008.
Om Birla contested and won his first Lok Sabha polls in 2014 when he defeated scion of Kota royal family, Ijyaraj Singh of the Congress.
He has been holding the Kota assembly seat for three consecutive terms. After winning the first election in 2003 and defeating a big leader like Shanti Dhariwal, he was able to register consecutive wins in 2008 and 2013.
In the 16th Lok Sabha, he was a member of the standing committee on Energy and Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry's consultative committee.
"His journey from a student leader to the Parliament is a big achievement. This doesn't happen often. Now there are challenges before him as he occupies a chair which has seen the likes of Sanjeev Reddy, Ravi Rai, M.A. Iyengar --- his performance will be evaluated keeping that in mind. Birla should take it as a challenge and move forward confidently", said political analyst and senior journalist, Narayan Bareth.
(With online desk inputs)