LOK Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is a low-profile politician and takes every step with caution. She is very emotional and possessive about her constituency, Indore, and does every possible thing to keep her voters in good humour. She recently led an unprecedented campaign, albeit indirectly, to pressurise the BJP Government in Madhya Pradesh to cancel allotment of a district court building inside an old lake. The 100-year-old Piplyahana Lake had fallen prey to encroachments and almost disappeared. The MP government had long ago allotted the dry land of the lake bed for building the court building. The decision was challenged in the NGT but the petition was dismissed on technical grounds in March this year. That led to a public agitation with all political parties and NGOs coming together to stall the construction. Mahajan, an eight-time MP, did not join the agitation overtly but wrote to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan twice, met him and convinced him to save the lake. Incidentally, the Pipalyahana Lake is not a drinking water source. Saving a water resource and saving a lake for its environmental benefits are two different things. She also convened an all-party meeting to appeal to the State government to change the site of the court building. The government conceded and rushed the Chief Secretary to scout for alternate land. That is called the power of the Speaker.
VOL. 10, ISSUE 5 | AUGUST, 2016