AAP fields Dhir for Speaker post,Congress keeps it guessing

Mateen Ahmed of the Congress is pro-tem Speaker after BJP says a polite no.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 1, 2014 11:06 pm

Consensus seems to have been achieved regarding the pro-tem speaker with both the Congress and the Aam Admi Party (AAP) settling on the candidature of Congress leader Mateen Ahmed.

But on the eve of the new Assembly session,the Congress kept the AAP guessing on support for its Speaker candidate,

M S Dhir of Jangpura.

Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung had appointed senior BJP leader and Janakpuri MLA Jagdish Mukhi as pro-tem Speaker of the Delhi Assembly on Monday.

But late Monday,leader of the BJP legislative party Harsh Vardhan conveyed to the Lt-Governor that the party had declined Mukhi’s nomination. By Tuesday,JD(U) MLA Shoaib Iqbal — whose name had also been suggested — also said a polite no.

The ensuing drama ended when the Congress proposed the name of Congress MLA of Seelampur Mateen Ahmed as pro-tem Speaker. “The DPCC chief Arvinder Singh Lovely contacted Mateen Ahmed for the post of pro-tem speaker of the Delhi Assembly and it has been decided that he will be the pro-tem speaker,” Shakeel Ahmed,AICC general secretary-in-charge of Delhi,said.

On Tuesday,Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced to the media outside his house that even though the BJP and the Congress have been quiet about their strategy with regard to their choice of candidate for the post of Speaker,their party’s candidate would be MS Dhir.

But both the Congress and the BJP continued to remain reticent about their choice of Speaker. Senior Congress leaders said the decision regarding whether or not to support

M S Dhir hasn’t been taken yet.

Harsh Vardhan told Newsline,“We have not yet

decided whether or not we will fight the election for the Speaker or not.”

Sources in the Congress said even though the party is not officially endorsing Dhir’s candidature,it is likely to and its reticence in declaring support is part of its policy to keep ‘AAP in line’.

“Even if we do support Dhir’s candidature. We will only reveal our cards at the last minute. We will continue to act as an opposition while continuing to give AAP outside support,” a senior Congress leader said.

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