In view of the historic significance of the women's reservation Bill, which was taken up for consideration and passage in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar made an announcement. He revealed that, in addition to the current panel of vice-chairpersons, 13 women MPs from various political parties would assist him in overseeing the proceedings of the House as vice-chairpersons.
The women MPs identified by Dhankhar, who took turns presiding over the Upper House during the debate on the Bill, were as follows: P T 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).
After announcing their names, Dhankar said, “They will have the occasion, along with the panel (of existing vice-chairpersons) to be in the Chair for some time, in order to send a message to the larger world that they were in a commanding position at a time when this historic change was taking place.”
S Phangnon Konyak made history in March 2022 by becoming the first female Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament from Nagaland. Her election marked a significant milestone as she was only the second woman from the state to be elected to either the Parliament or the state Assembly. Currently, S Phangnon Konyak serves as the president of the Mahila Morcha within the Nagaland state BJP.
Saroj Pandey's journey to becoming a BJP Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha was the culmination of a long and successful political career. She had previously served as the Mayor of Durg in Chhattisgarh and had the distinction of being elected to this position twice, first in 2000 and then in 2005. In 2008, Saroj Pandey contested and won the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections from Vaishali Nagar as a BJP candidate. The following year, she was nominated by the BJP to run for a seat in the Lok Sabha from Durg, which she also won. This remarkable achievement made her simultaneously hold the positions of Mayor, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), and Member of Parliament (MP), a feat that is recognized as a record in the realm of Indian politics.
Rajani Ashokrao Patil, the Rajya Sabha representative from Maharashtra, also holds the crucial role of being the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir. Her notable achievements include receiving the prestigious "Best Debut Parliamentarian" award in 2017, recognizing her outstanding performance during her initial term in the Rajya Sabha.
Fauzia Khan currently serves as the National President of the NCP's women's wing. She is a former Maharashtra minister who now represents her party in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of India's Parliament. Prior to her role in the Rajya Sabha, Fauzia Khan had the distinction of serving as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) on two occasions.
Indu Bala Goswami, the Rajya Sabha representative from Himachal Pradesh, has been associated with the BJP since 1988. She held the position of Vice-President of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the BJP's youth wing, and during that time, she collaborated with Prime Minister Modi in the late 1980s.
Dr. Kanimozhi NVN Somu, a member of the DMK, and daughter of the late Union minister N V N Somu, currently serves as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the Rajya Sabha, representing Tamil Nadu. She also holds key positions within the party, serving as the spokesperson for the DMK and holding the role of Secretary for the state's medical wing.
Kavita Patidar secured her election to the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh. Before achieving this milestone, she had held significant positions within the BJP. Kavita Patidar had previously served as the chairperson of the Indore district panchayat for the BJP. Later, she took on the role of the party's State General Secretary in Madhya Pradesh.
Mahua Maji, affiliated with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), serves as the representative for Jharkhand in the Rajya Sabha. Prior to her current role in the Parliament, Mahua Maji had held significant positions within the JMM and the state of Jharkhand. She had previously served as the Chairperson of Jharkhand's State Women Commission and held the position of President within the JMM's women's wing.
Sulata Deo, a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha representing the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), also takes on the role of the party's spokesperson. In the past, she served as an advisor to the "Mission Shakti" program, which was initiated by the BJD-led government in Odisha.