In a surprise move, the Congress party has decided to field Meera Kumar as the next speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Highly-placed sources said the name was finalised in the meeting of the core committee held on Saturday morning.
While the Congress is already informing its allies of this decision, on which there is expected to be no opposition, Congress leaders say it cannot be opposed by anyone.
Sources said she has been chosen because she is a Dalit, a woman and this would fulfil the criteria of empowerment and reservation both. The Congress was looking for a viable face from Bihar as well as the fact that the party is keen to focus on the Dalit aspect because of Mayawati.
Meera Kumar, the daughter of the late Dalit leader Jagjivan Ram, took oath as a cabinet minister in the first round of swearing in and after that she was named minister for water resources just two days ago, leading to speculation that it was a late decision to bring her in as the speaker.
Meera Kumar will make history as the first woman speaker of the Lok Sabha and by this move the UPA would ensure that the BJP also has to come in her support.
In the last government, she was the minister for social welfare and empowerment and this time, she won narrowly from Bihar.