With Gujarat MLAs yet to take oath more than three weeks since the Assembly election results were announced, apparently waiting for “auspicious” times, a state NGO on Thursday urged Governor O P Kohli to appoint a pro tem Speaker and administer the oath of office.
Speaking at an event on Thursday, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that there will be a two-day session of the Assembly after January 20.
Asked why oath-taking was delayed, Rupani said, “The MLAs wanted the Assembly session to start after the month-long inauspicious period that ends on Makar Sankranti (January 14). So the special session will be called after January 20. The two-day session will be held for Speaker’s election and the oath-taking of MLAs. The regular session (Budget session) will be after February 20, as per schedule.”
He said that the two- day session will be conducted in a temporary set-up due to the renovation of Vidhan Sabha building.
Pointing out that the term of the Assembly ends on January 22, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, led by Gautam Thaker, stated in the letter to Governor Kohli: “Practically, an elected legislative Assembly is not in existence in the state as the previous Assembly has been dissolved and the newly elected members have not been given oath. The Gujarat government is being run by the council of ministers only.
“Why is the Gujarat government working at such a slow pace? Why are MLAs not administered oath of office? Is there a crisis in the government?”
Thaker said that MLAs, elected on government expenses, were not in a position to work without taking oath.
While Assembly Secretary D M Patel said that he was not very clear if the MLAs can claim their honourarium and allowances before taking oath, three-time Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar said that the oath was required to be administered to MLAs before they could actually exercise the power of their office. “Oath is a declaration of one’s loyalty to the Constitution and no MLA can even use the letterhead if he/she has not taken oath,” said Parmar.
He said MLAs should have been administered oath of office with Rupani and his 19 ministers on December 26 itself.