Senior Biju Janata Dal leader Pramila Mallik was Friday elected as the Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, becoming the first woman to occupy the prestigious post
Pramila Mallik is a six-time MLA. File Photo
Senior Biju Janata Dal leader Pramila Mallik was Friday elected as the Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, becoming the first woman to occupy the prestigious post. Malik was elected unopposed.
Speaker in-charge Rajanikant Singh announced Mallik's election as the first woman Speaker of the Odisha Assembly at a special session held before the commencement of the Monsoon Session of the House.
PTI reported that the opposition BJP and Congress did not field any candidate for the election to the Speaker's post.
Leader of the House and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik moved a motion on Mallik's installation as the Speaker which was seconded by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Niranjan Pujari.
Later, Patnaik, Opposition BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi, Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra and other senior members accompanied Mallik to take the seat as the Speaker of the House.
In her first speech in the House, Mallik thanked all the members and sought their cooperation for the smooth functioning of the proceedings. Mallik said she would do her best to maintain the dignity of the House.
Patnaik thanked Mallik for being the first woman Speaker of the Odisha Assembly and expressed his confidence in her ability. She has been a lawmaker, a minister and the government chief whip, Patnaik said, adding that her vast experience would help her perform responsibilities as a Speaker.
Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra congratulated Mallik and hoped that she would work in an impartial manner and give protection to the opposition members in the face of "brute" majority of the ruling party in the House.
"I know her since 1990 when both of us were elected to the OLA and seen her performing as a minister and also the government chief whip. I expect her to be impartial as a Speaker," Mishra said.
BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi said that his party is proud of Mallik for being the first woman to become Speaker of the OLA.
Mallik, the six-time MLA from the reserved (SC) Binjharpur assembly segment in Jajpur district, resigned as Revenue and Disaster Management minister on Thursday and filed her nomination as a BJD candidate for the Speaker's post. However, she was the lone candidate for the election as the Opposition BJP and Congress did not field anyone against her.
The Speaker post in Odisha Assembly fell vacant after the resignation of Bikram Keshari Arukha in May this year.
Though earlier, it was announced that the election to the Speaker's post would be conducted on September 21, later it was rescheduled to September 22 as the Opposition Congress and BJP had threatened to boycott the poll on September 21 citing the 'Nuakhai' festival in Odisha.
Mallik made her debut in the Assembly as a Janata Dal MLA from Binjharpur in 1990. She later joined BJD and has been winning the assembly elections five times in a row since 2000. She served as Women and Child Development Minister from 2004 to 2011 and was also the government chief whip for three years from May 30, 2019, to June 6, 2022. She later became Revenue and Disaster Management Minister before being elected as the Speaker.
BJD has re-established its commitment to women empowerment as the party has made a dalit woman as the first Speaker of the Assembly, said senior MLA and party's vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra.