By Harihar Swarup
The BJP High Command has, perhaps, been most unkind to former Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahjan. While she was only given Padma Bhushan, lesser mortals were honoured with Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award. She had been an eight term M.P, second woman speaker of Lok Sabha after Meera Kumar and also a Union Minister of state, holding the portfolios of Human Resource Development, Communication and Information Technology and Petroleum and Natural Gas. She represented urban constituency of Indore almost without a break.
Those, who had watched her from the press gallery of Lok Sabha, can vouch she was one of the best speakers of Lok Sabha, never loosing her cool, handling the most tricky situation with calm and tact. Never ever has anyone seen loosing her temper.
Few knew her quality of helping people from her constituency. She would arrange guest accommodation for students from her area to stay in Delhi virtually free of cost. Also she helped, sick people, people in distress and the needy.
Sumitra Mahajan was born in a chitpavan Bramhin family to Usha and Purushottam Sathe in Maharashtra. She received her MA and LLB from Indore University after marrying Jayant. Sumitra’s hobbies include reading, music, drama and cinema as well as an enthusiasm for singing.
She has acknowledged the 18th century reformist, Ahilyabai Holkar, as the inspirational figure and has written a book on Ahilyabai Holkar’s life journey “Matoshree” which was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017.
Sumitra Mahajan started her political career as a corporator in the Indore Municipal Corporation in 1982. She was later acted as Deputy Mayor. She ran for the first time and won the Lok Sabha election in 1989 against former Chief Minister P C Sethi.
She has brought many projects for Indore from Railways, Aviation and Urban Development Ministry. She is known for simplicity, honesty and clean politics. She has a clean track record and has always maintained distance from special group. She is known as Tai, among the people of her constituency.
Sumitra was unanimously elected the Speaker of the 16th Lok Sabha. She had earlier worked as a member of the ‘panel of chairman’ in the Lok Sabha. She took the step of suspending 25 Congress MP’s for five days from the house for indiscipline. An active Parliamentarian, she only headed important committees but also been a keen debater and avid questioner in the house. She was the longest serving woman parliamentarian. (IPA service)