Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Shivraj Singh Chouhan
ANI

BHOPAL: In a tit-for-tat, the ruling BJP is unlikely to offer the post of the Deputy Speaker of Vidhan Sabha to the Congress. It may, instead, choose to install a SP or BSP member on the post.

The Deputy Speaker’s post is traditionally offered to the main opposition party with the understanding that it would allow the nominee of the ruling party to be elected as the Speaker unanimously.

However, in violation of this tradition, the BJP had fielded its candidate in the election of the Speaker after the last Assembly polls. Subsequently, a miffed Congress had refused to allow the appointment of a BJP member as Deputy Speaker and Hina Kanware of the ruling party was elected to the post.

With the roles reversed, the BJP has now decided not to go by the tradition and may choose to oblige either the sole SP (since expelled from the party) or one of the two BSP members by appointing them as the deputy head of the House.

The State Vidhan Sabha will be meeting on July 20 for a five-day session for the first time after the BJP pulling the rug from under the Congress government in March this year. The House will wear a new look, with the BJP contingent occupying the treasury benches. After an 18-month-long gap, the Congress MLAs would be back in the portion of the House earmarked for the opposition.

The House will elect its new Speaker and Deputy Speaker. And the Congress legislature party would have to name its leader, who will also be the leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha.

BJP heavyweight Gopal Bhargava’s name is doing the rounds as the next Speaker of the House. However, the former minister is said to be reluctant to take up the job. He is believed to be more interested in joining the government as a minister. Sitasharan Sharma, a five-time MLA, who was the Speaker during the last BJP regime, is said to be keen on occupying the office once again. The BJP leadership will take a final call on the issue.

As for the post of leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, sources say, former chief minister Kamal Nath would be the obvious choice. However, if he declines the offer, one of the senior members of the former Nath cabinet may be named to lead the Congress contingent.

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