Congess MLA from Pehowa Harmohinder Singh Chatha (74) was on Wednesday elected as Speaker of the Haryana Assembly by the newly elected members.
Chatha, who will hold the post for the third time, was elected unanimously by the members present in the House. Six MLAs of the Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) headed by Adampur MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi abstained during the election of the Speaker. The HJC members with whom the ruling Congress is talking for support left the House as the election of the Speaker was taken up.
Kaithal MLA Randeep Singh Surjewala proposed his name and some other members seconded it. As soon as he was elected, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, INLD president and former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and BJP leader Anil Vij welcomed his election. Hooda said he hoped Chatha would conduct the business of the House smoothly and ensure decorum.
Promising his party’s all out support, Chautala urged him not as member of a political party and conduct the proceedings “without any bias”. His remarks on the manner in which the House was run earlier led to exchange of some verbal volleys between the treasury and the opposition benches.
The remarks were expunged subsequently. BJP MLAs Krishan Pal Gurjar and Anil Vij also urged the Speaker to be neutral. Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, Kiran Choudhry, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Anita Yadav, Sampat Singh, Kuldeep Sharma (all from the Congress) and Ashok Arora (INLD also congratulated him. The Speaker promised that he would give equal opportunity to all the members to speak in the House and maintain decorum. A four-time MLA, Chatha remained Speaker of the State Assembly from 1987 to 1991 and March 2005 to January 2006. The Deputy Speaker’s election scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.