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Uttar Pradesh: BJP gears up for Speaker election

As the outgoing Speaker of Hriday Narayan Dixit did not contest the elections, the BJP is looking for his successor in the new assembly

President Ram Nath Kovind being greeted by Uttar Pradesh CM-designate Yogi Adityanath during a meeting, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi (Twitter @rashtrapatibhvn, PTI)

After its second consecutive clean sweep in the Uttar Pradesh elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has started consultations with its leaders for the election of the Assembly Speaker, party sources said.

As the outgoing Speaker of Hriday Narayan Dixit did not contest the elections, the BJP is looking for his successor in the new assembly.

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“Though the exercise to elect the new Speaker will be conducted after the swearing-in ceremony of the Chief Minister and the cabinet, the names of Suresh Khanna, Satish Mahana and Ramapati Shastri are doing rounds as prospective names for the position,” a senior BJP leader said.

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These leaders are senior-most in terms of legislative experience among all BJP MLAs in the state, he added.

A nine-time MLA from Shahjahanpur, Khanna (68) has served as a minister in the governments of Yogi Adityanath, Kalyan Singh, Rajnath Singh and Ram Prakash Gupta. He was also a minister in the Mayawati government in 2002 after the BJP and Bahujan Samaj Party had forged an alliance.

Before 2017, he was a BJP MLA in UP Assembly for two years. “But considering his extensive legislative experience, the party may want him to stay in the cabinet while handling the parliamentary affairs portfolio,” said a party leader.

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In the earlier Yogi Adityanath-led government, Khanna had looked after parliamentary affairs, medical education and finance portfolios.

Mahana is another senior BJP MLA who is being considered for the post of state assembly Speaker. In his eight-year tenure as a legislator, Mahana contested from Kanpur Cantt constituency for the first five terms and then from Maharajpur constituency for the remaining terms. The 61-year-old leader also owns a business.

Like Khanna, Mahana has also been a state minister in the governments led by Kalyan Singh, Rajnath Singh, Ram Prakash Gupta, Mayawati and Yogi Adityanath.

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The third name that is being considered is Ramapati Shastri, 72, who is the newly elected MLA from Mankapur (SC) seat in Gonda district. The agriculturist-turned-politician was has served as a cabinet minister in the governments of Kalyan Singh, Rajnath Singh and Yogi Adityanath. He is a six-term MLA.

“As he belongs to the Scheduled Caste community, Shastri’s name is under consideration. His appointment as the assembly Speaker will send out a strong message to Dalits,” a party leader observed.

With the BJP and its allies getting a majority in the 403-member House after bagging 273 seats, the candidate finally picked will be elected as the Speaker unopposed.

At the same time, speculations are rife that the Samajwadi Party has been busy shortlisting names for the next Leader of Opposition in the Assembly.

Ram Govind Chaudhary, who was the Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, lost to BJP’s Ketaki Singh in Bansdih. Sources said that the prominent names doing rounds included former assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey who is an MLA from Itwa, Jaswantnagar MLA and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh’s brother Shivpal Singh Yadav, Azamgarh MLA Dirga Prasad Yadav and Katehari MLA Lalji Verma.

First published on: 15-03-2022 at 02:36:09 pm
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