BHOPAL: The Madhya Pradesh Assembly is set to witness voting for electing the new Speaker of the house after 47 years. Both, the ruling Congress as well as the opposition BJP have fielded their candidates for the top post in the state assembly. If the BJP doesn't withdraw the nomination of former MP minister and MLA from Harsud seat Kunwar Vijay Shah for the Speaker's post, voting will have to be undertaken to elect the new speaker.
The ruling Congress has already announced the candidature of ex-MP minister and MLA from Gotegaon seat Narmada Prasad Prajapati for the speaker's post. "Conventionally it's the ruling party which gets the speaker's post, but since the opposition party is not ready to follow that tradition by supporting our speaker candidate, we'll ensure that convention of the opposition party getting deputy speaker's post too is not followed and voting takes place to elect the deputy speaker also," said legislative affairs minister Dr Govind Singh and the home minister Bala Bachchan while talking to journalists on the inaugural day of the first session of new Vidhan Sabha.
Prior to this, in 1967 there was voting to elect the Vidhan Sabha speaker when there was a contest between Congress candidate Kunjilal Dube and united opposition candidate Rameshwar Agnibhoj. Five years later in 1972, there was yet another contest for the coveted post between Congress' Kashi Prasad Pandey and opposition candidate Chandrapratap Tiwari.
While the Congress has 114 members in the present assembly along with the support of four independents, two BSP MLAs and one SP legislator, the opposition BJP has 109 MLAs. At least 116 votes are needed in the 230-strong full Vidhan Sabha for a member to become the Assembly speaker.
8-time MLA Gopal Bhargava elected BJP legislature party leader in MP
Gopal Bhargava, the eight-time sitting MLA from Rehli assembly seat of Sagar district and a cabinet minister in the erstwhile Uma Bharti and Shivraj Singh Chouhan governments, was elected the Leader of Opposition on Monday evening. Former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan proposed 66-year-old Bhargava's name as he's the senior most legislator in the present Vidhan Sabha. At the meeting of the newly elected BJP MLAs, Bhargava's name was seconded by former MP minister Narottam Mishra, who was himself in the race for becoming the LoP.
The announcement of Bhargava being elected as BJP legislature party leader was made in presence of Union home minister Rajnath Singh and party national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe at the state BJP headquarters in Bhopal in the evening.
Bhargava's election as LoP and BJP legislature party leader came after ex-CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan ruled himself out of the race. The move is being seen as RSS' conscious effort to get an upper caste face for the party in MP politics. The election of Brahmin leader as LoP is also being seen as a fallout of the recent backlash of upper caste against the BJP over SC/ST Atrocities Act amendment costing the saffron party dearly in the recent assembly polls.
The development is also being seen as a strategic attempt to woo back the upper caste ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Earlier, in the day former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and ex-minister Narottam Mishra objected to ex-minister and four-time Congress MLA from Chhindwara seat Deepak Saxena (a close confidant of CM Kamal Nath) being appointed the pro tem speaker of the Vidhan Sabha.
Both Chouhan and Mishra maintained that as per established convention, senior most MLA Gopal Bhargava should have been appointed the pro tem speaker to carry the task for administering the oath to newly elected MLAs in the House.