By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 26 Mar: BJP MLA from Kotdwar Ritu Khanduri Bhushan has been elected unopposed for the post of Speaker of the fifth assembly of Uttarakhand. She is the first woman speaker of the state assembly. Ritu Khanduri Bhushan was declared elected as Speaker of the Assembly by Pro-tem Speaker Banshidhar Bhagat. She was the only one to file the nomination for this post as Congress had declared on Thursday itself that it would not field any candidate for the post. Upon her election to the post of Speaker, CM Pushkar Singh Dhami congratulated Ritu Khanduri. Dhami stated that he wished to congratulate her on being elected the first woman Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly. He also expressed confidence that the new speaker would run the house well and under her leadership the assembly would create a new history. Senior MLAs of the house escorted her to the chair of the Speaker in the presence of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, once her election was declared. After taking over as Speaker, Ritu Khanduri Bhushan addressed the House and thanked all the members of the House for being elected unopposed. It may be recalled that the process of electing the Speaker of the Assembly had begun on Thursday. On the first day, BJP MLA Khanduri filed her nomination in the presence of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and his cabinet members. No other candidate filed the form till the stipulated time period on the last day of nomination on Friday. The Congress had already that it would not field its candidate for the post of Speaker of the Assembly late on Thursday evening itself. Khanduri’s victory was certain even if election had taken place as the BJP has a clear majority of 47 in the House of 70. Pro tem speaker Bhagat announced the election of Khanduri in the assembly hall of the assembly at 11 am today. After this, Khanduri sat on the Speaker’s chair. This is the first time after the formation of the state, when a woman MLA has become the Speaker of the Assembly. Congratulations and greetings had started pouring in for her on Friday itself as there was an influx of people at her MLA Hostel accommodation in Race Course since yesterday. The delegation of Morcha led by State Vice President of Mahila Morcha Kanchan Thakur also felicitated Khanduri. On this occasion, Khanduri said that her becoming the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is a matter of honour for all the women of the state. As Speaker of the Assembly, she would try her best to live up to the expectations of the state. It may be recalled that second time MLA Ritu Khanduri is the daughter of Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri, the former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand. She was born on 29 January 1965 in Nainital. She has completed her graduation from Raghunath Girls’ College, Meerut. After this she did her post graduation from Rajasthan University. She also holds a Diploma in Journalism.