Indian house elects veteran Modi ally as speaker
Published on Jun 6, 2014 2:59 PM
NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India's lower house of parliament elected a veteran ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as speaker on Friday, clearing a key hurdle before the government unveils its policy programme next week.
Sumitra Mahajan, 71, an eight-term member of the house from Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was unanimously elected as speaker of the 545-member Lok Sabha, or House of the People.
Modi won the first outright parliamentary majority in 30 years in last month's election, creating expectations that the new legislature will do a better job after a previous term marked by legislative drift and chaotic debates.
Although the BJP and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance control a big majority, with a combined count of 336 seats, Modi will need to cobble together alliances to pass some measures through the upper house.
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