PATNA: Bihar Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary today deferred to February 18 a meeting with legislature party leaders of five political parties on seating arrangements in the house on February 20 when Jitan Ram Manjhi government will seek a trust vote.
"I had invited the legislature party leaders of five political parties, besides Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, to decide on seating arrangements in the house for February 20 next, but no decision could be taken as BJP legislature party leader Nandkishore Yadav, who is also the Leader of Opposition, failed to attend," he told reporters.
"I have deferred meeting with legislature party leaders of five political parties having representation in the house on February 18 next at 10 AM as Yadav could not come for today's meeting," Chaudhary said.
The Speaker said he had been confronted with a peculiar situation for the first time when five political parties, with representation in the house, wanting to sit in the opposition.
So, he said, he had to sit with the legislature party leaders of these parties and work out sitting arrangements in the house for the inaugural sitting on February 20 next when the Manjhi government would seek trust vote.
On the incumbent Leader of Opposition (LOP) Nandkishore Yadav writing to the Speaker to protest against a letter by the latter's office to him in which he has been described as BJP legislative party leader and not LOP, Chaudhary admitted that it was mistake committed by his office and said that it had been rectified.
On RJD legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddique urging the Speaker to put on notice the exact number of MLAs of all political parties for convenience to all, Chaudhary said that he had accepted the demand and would release the list in due course of time.
The JD(U) legislature party leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhary regretted delay in decision by the Speaker to accord him the status of Leader of Opposition (LOP) on the basis of a resolution by his party, a copy of which has been sent to the Speaker as well.
Strongly protesting against the incumbent LOP Nandkishore Yadav's bid to challenge the Speaker's authority to recognise the JD(U) legislature party leader as the next LOP given the largest number of MLAs with it, Chaudhary reminded Yadav of precedents in this regard and said he too would be forced to knock the doors of judiciary for justice if the BJP leader continued to stonewall the decision-making process of the Speaker.
"If Yadav can go to court to pre-empt the Speaker's decision to recognise the duly-elected JD(U) legislature party leader as the LOP, then I too can move to the court for justice on the same issue as our party has the largest number of MLAs in the house and I have been elected as the Leader of my party's legislature party leader," he said.
Charging the incumbent LOP with causing 'unnecessary delay' in recognition of JD(U) legislature party leader as the next LOP by the Speaker in accordance to his party's decision to sit in the opposition, Chaudhary, a former Water Resources Department (WRD) minister, said BJP should leave the matter to the Speaker who had to rely on rules of house proceedings and precedents to arrive on a decision on such issues.
"If somebody denies our rights or opposes our right to seek justice, then we too may have to move to court," he said and urged the Speaker to quickly decide on his submission for recognition as the LOP status on the basis of numbers JD(U) have.