Two-time Bharatiya Janata Party MP Om Birla was on Wednesday elected the speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha. He was the only candidate in the fray as the Congress and its allies did not field any nominee.

The BJP had on Tuesday nominated the 57-year-old for the post, with the backing of all members of the National Democratic Alliance.

“It is a matter of great pride for the House and we all congratulate Om Birla Ji on being unanimously elected as the speaker of the Lok Sabha,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, according to ANI. “Many MPs know Birla well. He has served in the state of Rajasthan as well. Personally, I remember working with Om Birla for a long time.”

“He represents Kota, a place that is mini-India, land associated with education and learning,” Modi added. “He has been in public life for years. He began as a student leader and has been serving society since then without a break.”

Birla succeeds former BJP MP Sumitra Mahajan, who did not contest the Lok Sabha elections this time. Birla had won the election to the Lower House from Kota-Bundi seat in Rajasthan last month, defeating Ramnarain Meena of the Congress by 2.79 lakh votes. He has earlier been a three-time MLA in the state.

Birla said he will run the House impartially and in accordance with rules and regulations, PTI reported. He said he would “safeguard the interests of the members, irrespective of the strength of their parties in the House”. He said he expects the government to be “more responsible and answerable in the House”.

The ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament is the first time the 17th Lok Sabha is meeting since being elected last month. The session began on Monday and will end on July 26.

BJP MP Virendra Kumar took oath as the pro tem speaker of the Lok Sabha on Monday. He oversaw the swearing-in ceremonies of new legislators and will now resign.