Lok Sabha speaker and eight times BJP MP from Indore, Sumitra Mahajan turned 73 today. Wishes have poured in from across the political spectrum for her health and long life, with PM Narendra Modi himself tweeting:
Birthday wishes to the Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan ji. Praying for her long and healthy life.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 12, 2017
Home Minister Rajnath Singh also sent out his regards on the momentous occasion:
Warm wishes to Lok Sabha Speaker Smt. Sumitra Mahajan on her birthday today. May she be blessed with good health and long life.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) April 12, 2017
National vice president of the BJP and Rajya Sabha member Om Prakash Mathur thanked her for her service to the nation over the period of her long career in public life:
My best Birthday wishes to @LoksabhaSpeaker Sumitra Mahajan ji your service to the nation endear you to everyone pic.twitter.com/7lSTn4g8k4
— Om Prakash Mathur (@OmMathur_bjp) April 12, 2017
Ms. Mahajan is one of three members of the 16th Lok Sabha to have been elected eight times, and is the longest serving woman Indian MP. She is only the second woman speaker of the lower house of the Parliament, after Meira Kumar who was the speaker of the Lok Sabha till 2014, under the UPA government. NCP leader and former UPA civil aviation minister Praful also congratulated her, tweeting:
Warm birthday wishes to the honourable speaker of Lok Sabha, Sumitra Mahajan. May the almighty bless her with a long life ahead.
— Praful Patel (@praful_patel) April 12, 2016
It wasn’t just the netas who were seen wishing her on Twitter — the Editor in Chief of KNI News and National General Secretary of the Editors Association of India, Dr. Sunil Kaushik said that he would pray for her long life, tweeting:
Birthday wishes to Sumitra Mahajan ji ,a veteran leader ,distinguished Parliamentarian &exemplary LS Speaker .Praying for her long life.
— Dr. Sunil Kaushik (@sunilk_india) April 12, 2016
Miss Mahajan began her political career as the Deputy Mayor of Indore in 1984-85, and first ran for the Lok Sabha constituency of Indore in 1989, against the former CM and senior Congress leader Prakash Chandra Sethi. She served as a Union Minister for a time, handling the departments of human resources, communications and petroleum from 2002 to 2004 under the Vajpayee government. She acknowledges the reformer and Holkar Empire Queen Ahilyabai as the guiding influence in her political and personal life. In fact, PM Modi released a book penned by Ms. Mahajan on Ahilyabai this week. Women welfare and social reform has been the focus of her public life, and this has earner her admirers across the political aisle, leading to her unanimous confirmation as the speaker of the House in 2014.
There was a group of twitter users who were eager to point out the effectiveness with which ‘Tai’, as Ms. Mahajan is called by her followers, has functioned as both the speaker and a life-long parliamentarian. She has managed a stormy house with grace over the last three years of the NDA government, not giving into partisan influences, and she has always been an avid debater and questioner over the course of her long career. The CM of Manipur, and another successful woman in Indian politics, Najma Heptullah tweeted, congratulating her for her success story and wishing she continue her good work:
Birthday wishes to Hon Speaker Smt Sumitra Mahajan JI. I pray for her good health and long life.
— Najma Heptulla (@nheptulla) April 12, 2016