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Wednesday, Dec 07, 2022

Bihar Assembly schedule tweaked, no-trust vote against Speaker moved up 

The Assembly secretariat late Tuesday evening, on the advice of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, changed the business schedule of the day. Now, after the Speaker's address, the House will take up the resolution for his removal.

Bihar Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha (File Photo)

In what is likely to cause a showdown between the ruling JD(U)-RJD alliance and Opposition BJP, the Bihar Assembly secretariat late Tuesday evening, on the advice of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, changed the business schedule for the special two-day session to advance the no-trust motion against Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha. Now, after the Speaker’s address, the House will take up the resolution for his removal. This will be followed by a trust vote against the Kumar government, after which reports of Assembly committees will be tabled.

In the initial schedule prepared by Sinha early on Tuesday, he was to address the House, preside over the tabling of reports and the trust-vote against the government, before the resolution against him was taken up.

The change in schedule gives Sinha two options; he could choose to resign after addressing the Assembly or face the resolution on his removal. However, Sinha could also reject the resolution, a move that could create a constitutional crisis.

Sinha on Tuesday refused to resign from his position. He said, “RJD legislators had not served me the no-confidence motion on August 9 in a proper format. They did so on August 10.” As per rule, he said, there has to be a 14-day gap before the motion is taken up, excluding the day the notice is served and the day of trust vote.

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If the resolution is taken up, the ruling alliance of the JD(U) and RJD is likely to win as it has a comfortable majority of 164 MLAs in the 243-member House. The BJP has 77 legislators in the House.

BJP sources said Sinha hasn’t resigned as he wants to make a strong statement against “the manner in which the RJD sought his removal as Speaker”.

A source in the government said, “As per the rule, it is the Speaker who can decide the business of the day. But a clause adds the Speaker can do so with ‘consultation with leader of the House’. Both the Speaker and CM have interpreted the laws as per their convenience. If the Speaker refuses to resign, the matter can go to the Governor or even to court, on who can decide the business of the day.”

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Bihar Parliamentary Affairs Minister and former Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary told reporters on Tuesday: “The BJP should have avoided this situation as they do not have the numbers to keep their Speaker. The business of the day was changed after due consultation with the Chief Minister… How can a Speaker, who is facing a resolution for removal, preside over the House session? He can reject it and this way, no discussion and voting could take place.”

The two-day special session has been called for Kumar’s government to prove its majority.

First published on: 24-08-2022 at 08:13:20 am
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