Congress gets its speaker and stability in MP

Congress gets its speaker and stability in MP

Leaders of opposition protest against the election of Deepak Saxena as pro tem speaker during the winter session of state Assembly, in Bhopal, on Tuesday. Congress MLA N P Prajapati was later elected Speaker of the 15th Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly. PTI

The Congress in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday elected its nominee N P Prajapati as speaker of the 15th state assembly while the BJP staged a walkout after sensing a sure defeat.

Prajapati got 120 votes in the house of 230, six votes more than the Congress’s strength.

The victory has, at least for now, put to rest speculation about the stability of the Kamal Nath government which has outside support of two BSP, one SP and four independent MLAs. The BJP attempted to drive a wedge in the government by announcing its candidate for the speaker post but failed miserably as the ruling coalition stood united.

In the 230-strong Assembly, the Congress has 114 and the BJP has 107 seats.

Before staging a walkout, BJP members created a ruckus in the Assembly over the selection of pro tem speaker Deepak Saxena, who is a close confidante of the chief minister. The Opposition said the Congress has flagrantly bypassed the Assembly’s convention in electing Saxena as pro tem speaker, who is not the senior-most member of the House.   

Amid uproar, Saxena declared Prajapati as speaker. Later, however, the pro tem speaker yielded to a BSP MLA’s demand for vote division on the election.  

Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan alleged that the BJP’s candidate Vijay Shah was not allowed to stake a claim for the speaker’s post. He described the day as a black day for democracy.

Later, BJP MLAs led by newly-elected leader of opposition Gopal Bhargava took out a march to the Raj Bhavan in protest.