The rise and rise of Om Birla!

New Delhi: Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s highly ‘bold and experimental’ move, Om Birla as the speaker of the Lok Sabha has proved to be a super-duper hit political move. In just a short span of seven months, Birla has impressed not only the top BJP leadership and Mohan Bhagwat, but also the rank and file of all political parties on the floor of the house. In this way, the meticulous and miraculous rise and rise of Om Birla has surprised and impressed almost everyone across political platforms.

The story goes back to 1980s, as in the early years of the decade, a slim and handsome youth had just taken admission in Government College at Kota. Although a fresher, this youth had a certain ‘magnetic personality’ and could easily sway students into the arena of student politics. It was this ‘charisma’ that his professors deemed it fit for him to take part in student parliaments. The little speck that was initiated in the early 1980s, has now snowballed into a Goliath, of sorts, a politician who has indeed reached the zenith of a politician’s journey but seldom anyone reaches.

We are talking about LS Speaker Om Birla, whose political life started from ‘baton-charged tracks’ of student politics and has now reached a stage where he is registering records after records in Parliamentary affairs, while keeping together all the parties, and thus turning a new leaf in the politics of the nation.

Only a few months have passed since Birla was unanimously elected as Speaker, yet in this short term, Birla has managed to achieve what none of his predecessors over the past 40 years could come close to. With the three sessions of Lok Sabha being called, Birla has almost single-handedly managed to bring about a marked change in the manner the house functioned. Right from making the Lok Sabha go paperless to providing the MPs video recording of their speeches and even getting all 20 listed questions being asked and answered during the winter session, breaking the 40-year-old record, and giving the first time MPs extra time to put forward their opinions during the first session, are just some of his achievements worth highlighting.

But the high-point of Birla tenure as Speaker till now certainly has been passing of 30 Bills in first session itself, a feat that has been repeated only after 1967. Birla also presented a good front by staying apolitical and giving the opposition enough time to put their issues across properly, a move that was appreciated by the opposition! It is under his ‘watch’ only that probably the three most controversial Bills ever to be presented in the Lok Sabha – Triple Talaq, Article 370 and Citizenship Amendment Bill and National Register for Citizens – were tabled and passed as well making them Acts. However, the second time Kota MP has not forgotten his duty towards his home district too. Birla has ensured that when in Kota, no protocol is followed for people who come to him with their grievances and problems and tries to provide relief to them. When Chambal river raked havoc during monsoon in Kota and Bundi districts, Birla toured the affected areas to take stock of situation and also directed administration in various relief works. Moreover, recently when the biting cold wave gripped Kota, Birla went out at night to take measure of the facilities for poor and homeless while distributing blankets to keep them warm.

And as they said, hard work does not go unnoticed, Birla’s work ethics, conviction and commitment to the ‘Chair’ earned him laurels from President Ram Nath Kovind as well. The President commended on the functioning of Lok Sabha over the past seven months and specially mentioned the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha. At one point of time, impressed with Birla’s ‘independent’ execution of Parliamentary affairs, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had herself walked to Speaker’s chamber and congratulated him for his outstanding performance.