RJD MLAs create ruckus in Bihar assembly, oppose voice vote in Speaker election
There was a ruckus in the Bihar assembly on Wednesday on the third day of the five-day session as legislators of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) jumped into the well of the House opposing voice vote for the election of the Speaker during the day.
Citing the presence of members of the legislative council - Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and cabinet minister Ashok Choudhary - in the House, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, “Rules should be followed during the election of the Speaker.”
Protem Speaker of Bihar Legislative Assembly and president of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) party, Jitan Ram Manjhi, countered Yadav’s claim. “Those from the other House aren’t voting for Speaker election, but there is no problem with them being present here,” Manjhi said.
The RJD-led Grand Alliance (GA) has fielded Awadh Bihari Choudhary as their candidate against the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee Vijay Kumar Sinha for the post of the Speaker in the Bihar assembly. The Opposition’s move is the first test of strength for chief minister Nitish Kumar-led NDA government which has a slender majority in the 243-member House.
“The RJD, and GA allies, Congress and three Left parties, felt the need to field our own candidate as Choudhary is a senior legislator with wide experience and has the ability to run the House impartially by striking a balance between Opposition and ruling parties. His election as Speaker would help members raise people’s issues and get them addressed,” Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, leader of the GA and Leader of the Opposition leader in the assembly, had said.
After filing their nominations on Tuesday afternoon, both Choudhary, who is a six-time RJD MLA and Sinha, a senior BJP MLA, expressed confidence about having the required number of MLAs to win the election. Both of them have served as ministers in previous governments.
The decision to field Choudhary is a breakaway from the traditional practice of election of the Speaker unanimously. It points to how the Opposition, with its 110 MLAs, is in no mood to give the NDA, with 126 MLAs, much leeway inside the assembly. More so, because the NDA banks heavily on the support of smaller allies like Vikasheel Inssan Party (VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM)(S).