Given the historic significance of the women's reservation Bill being considered and voted upon in the Rajya Sabha, 13 women Members of Parliament (MPs) from various political parties chaired and presided over the House as vice-chairpersons for the day.
VP Dhankar Welcomes MPs
On Thursday, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar announced this special arrangement.
Chairman Dhankhar designated these women MPs to take turns in the presiding officer's role during the debate on the Bill. The appointed women MPs include PT Usha (nominated), S Phangnon Konyak (BJP), Jaya Bachchan (SP), Saroj Pandey (BJP), Rajani Ashokrao Patil (Congress), Fauzia Khan (NCP), Dola Sen (TMC), Indu Bala Goswami (BJP), Kanimozhi (DMK), Kavita Patidar (BJP), Mahua Maji (JMM), Kalpana Saini (BJP), and Sulata Deo (BJD).
Following the announcement of their names, Dhankar remarked, "They will have the opportunity, in addition to the current panel of vice-chairpersons, to preside over the proceedings for a period. This aims to convey to the broader world that they held influential roles at a moment when this historic transformation was unfolding."
Know These Women
1. In March 2022, S Phangnon Konyak made history by becoming the inaugural female Rajya Sabha MP from Nagaland. She is the second woman from the state to be elected to either the Parliament or the State Assembly. Currently, she serves as the president of the state BJP's Mahila Morcha.
2. Rajani Ashokrao Patil, the Rajya Sabha representative from Maharashtra, holds the position of All India Congress Committee (AICC) in charge of Jammu and Kashmir. She received recognition in 2017 when she was honoured with the Best Debut Parliamentarian award for her outstanding performance during her initial term in the Rajya Sabha.
3. Fauzia Khan holds the distinction of being the first Muslim woman to have held a ministerial post in the Maharashtra government. She currently serves as the national president of the NCP's women's wing. A former Maharashtra minister, she now represents her party in the Upper House of Parliament. Prior to this, she held the position of Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) twice.
4. Sulata Deo, a Rajya Sabha MP from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), also serves as the party's spokesperson. She had previously worked as an advisor for the "Mission Shakti" program under the leadership of the BJD-led government in Odisha.
5. Kalpana Saini, who represents Uttarakhand in the Rajya Sabha has occupied various senior positions within the BJP, VHP, Durga Vahini, Sewa Bharti Matri Mandal, and Yogi Mangalnath Saraswati Shishu Mandir. In the past, she has held significant roles such as the chairperson of Uttarakhand's Backward Commission and director at the National Fertiliser Limited.
6. Mahua Maji is a Rajya Sabha representative from Jharkhand, belonging to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). In the past, she held the position of chairperson for Jharkhand's State Women Commission and also served as the president of the JMM's women's wing.
7. Saroj Pandey's appointment as a BJP Member of Parliament (MP) in the Rajya Sabha came after a substantial and extensive career in politics. Throughout her political journey, she achieved the position of Mayor of Durg in Chhattisgarh twice, first in 2000 and then again in 2005.
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