First speaker of Lok Sabha

By | August 31, 2017

Ganesh Vasudev Mavalankar (27 November 1888 – 27 February 1956) popularly known as Dadasaheb was an independence activist, the President (from 1946 to 1947) of the Central Legislative Assembly, then Speaker of the Constituent Assembly of India, and later the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India. His son Purushottam Mavalankar was later elected to the Lok Sabha twice from Gujarat.

Mavalankar joined the Indian Independence Movement with the Non-Cooperation Movement. He was appointed secretary of the Gujarat Provincial Congress Committee during 1921–22. Although he temporarily joined the Swaraj Party in the 1920s, he returned to Mahatma Gandhi and the Salt Satyagraha in 1930. After the Congress abandoned its boycott of elections to the pre-independence legislative councils in 1934, Mavlankar was elected to the Bombay Province Legislative Assembly and became its Speaker in 1937. Mavalankar remained Speaker of the Bombay Legislative Assembly from 1937 to 1946. In 1946, he was elected also to the Central Legislative Assembly.

Mavalankar remained the President of the Central Legislative Assembly till the midnight of 14–15 August 1947 when, under the Indian Independence Act 1947, the Central Legislative Assembly and the Council of States ceased to exist and the Constituent Assembly of India assumed full powers for the governance of India. Just after independence, Mavalankar headed a committee constituted on 20 August 1947 to study and report on the need to separate the Constitution-making role of the Constituent Assembly from its legislative role. Later, on the basis of this Committee’s recommendation, the legislative and Constitution-making roles of the Assembly were separated and it was decided to have a Speaker to preside over the Assembly when during its functioning as the legislative body.

Mavalankar was elected to the office of speaker of the Constituent Assembly (Legislative) on 17 November 1947. With the adoption of the Constitution of India on 26 November 1949, the nomenclature of the Constituent Assembly (Legislative) was changed to the Provisional Parliament. Mavalankar became the Speaker of the Provisional Parliament on 26 November 1949 and continued to occupy the office till the 1st Lok Sabha was constituted in 1952.

On 15 May 1952, after the first general elections in independent India, Mavalankar, who was representing Ahmedabad, was elected the Speaker of the 1st Lok Sabha. The House carried the proposal with 394 votes, against the opponent’s 55. In January 1956, Mavalankar suffered a heart attack, and resigned his office. He died on 27 February 1956 in Ahmedabad after a cardiac arrest, aged 67.

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