Following a complaint by the BJP against Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati, Governor Lalji Tandon has suggested that he quit his post and honouring the tradition that requires a speaker to resign in the event of the party that chose him loses power.
Citing a no confidence motion moved by the BJP in the assembly secretariat against the Speaker, the Governor has asked him to take it (motion) up on priority when the session is convened. “Until the no confidence motion is decided by the house, I expect you to work in accordance with the constitution, assembly rules and morality by studying the legality of every subject,’ the Governor stated in the letter addressed to Prajapati.
The Speaker and Principal Secretary (Assembly) A P Singh did not respond to calls made by The Indian Express. After Chief Minister Kamal Nath stepped down before facing a trust vote on Friday, the Speaker had adjourned the assembly sine die.
At the centre of the latest dispute is the resignation letter sent by BJP MLA Sharad Kol on March 6. While Kol claimed that he had sent another letter on March 16 requesting the speaker not to accept his resignation, the speaker insisted he accepted the resignation because neither did he receive any other letter before that nor the legislator met him in person.
On Friday evening the BJP called on the governor with a request to intervene in the dispute over Kol’s resignation. “At the moment there is no leader of house and the house is not functional and the speaker should not take any policy decision that harms or protects someone’s interests. Yet, politically motivated decisions are being taken,’’ Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava said in the complaint informing the governor that a no confidence motion had been submitted against the speaker but he did not act on it.
The BJP demanded that a pro tem speaker should be appointed to ensure that “constitutional values and democratic traditions’’ are followed. The BJP accused the speaker of following unlawful procedure to accept Kol’s resignation.
Besides attaching copies of complaints by the BJP, the governor in his letter to the speaker quoted a constitutional expert’s opinion that when a government falls the speaker and the deputy speaker appointed in that regime should resign.
Both the speaker and deputy speaker Heena Kavre belong to the Congress. After the Congress came to power in 2018 assembly elections, the BJP had demanded election for the speaker’s post. By convention the speaker (belonging to the ruling party) is elected unanimously and the deputy speaker belongs to the Opposition party. Because the BJP forced an election for the speaker’s post, the Congress named its own MLA as the deputy speaker.
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