Hon’ble Speaker Madam: Pramila Mallik Becomes First Woman Presiding Officer Of Odisha Assembly
Bhubaneswar: Odisha got its first woman Assembly Speaker with six-time BJD MLA Pramila Mallik being elected unopposed to the post on Friday, which also saw the beginning of the 8-day monsoon session.
The result was a foregone conclusion since BJP had decided not to field a candidate and Congress did not have the numbers.
Mallik represents reserved (SC) Binjharpur assembly segment in Jajpur district. She held several key assignments in the Naveen Patnaik government and was last allocated the revenue and disaster management portfolio. She made her debut in the Assembly as a Janata Dal MLA from Binjharpur in 1990. After joining the BJD, she has been winning from the seat 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.
Her election to the Speaker post has put a stamp on BJD, which also voted in favour of Women’s Reservation Bill passed unanimously in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, as the champion of the women’s cause. The party had issued 3-line Whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs, asking them to be present in the upper house and support the passage of the bill.
Amid the hullabaloo over 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, the Naveen Patnaik-led government has time and again shown its commitment to woman empowerment by increasing reservation for women in Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies to 50 per cent from 33 per cent introduced by his late father and former chief minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik, in the early 1990s, sending at least seven women to Parliament (five to Lok Sabha and two to Rajya Sabha) and electing a woman as mayor of Bhubaneswar, BJD leaders said.
Notably, reservation for women has been a pet issue for Naveen, who has since long been pushing to provide women their rightful place in the decision-making process.
In 2020, he also announced a dedicated department called Mission Shakti that would exclusively work for around 70 lakh rural women associated with nearly six lakh women self-help groups (SHGs) created under the Mission Shakti movement, they added.