Senior BJP legislator K G Bopaiah was Friday appointed the pro-tem speaker of the Karnataka Assembly, where newly-appointed Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa will face the floor test at 4 pm tomorrow in order to prove the majority. A four-time MLA, Bopaiah was the Karnataka Assembly speaker from 2009 to 2013.
Governor Vajubhai Vala appointed Bopaiah “as the person before whom a member of the legislative assembly shall, before taking his seat, make and subscribe an oath or affirmation.” The move was denounced by the Congress, which is likely to move the Supreme Court against it. Shortly after issuing the notification for the appointment, the governor administered the oath to Bopaiah.
Notably, Bopaiah’s decision to disqualify 16 MLAs ahead of the no-confidence motion was quashed by the Supreme Court in 2011, which had ensured the survival of the then Yeddyurappa-led government. He also had to face the wrath of the apex court, which observed that basic constitutional values and principles of natural justice were not observed by Bopaiah in disqualifying the 11 rebel BJP and five independent legislators.
A pro-tem Speaker is appointed by the Governor of the state for a limited period of time, or until the Legislative Assembly elects its Speaker. As per convention, the senior most MLA is normally chosen as the pro tem Speaker. The senior most MLA in the new state assembly is Congress’ R V Deshpande who has been elected eight times. Bopaiah, meanwhile, is a four-time MLA.
Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker had administered the oath to newly elected members of the Assembly in 2008, when the BJP came to power in Karnataka for the first time under Yeddyurappa. He was subsequently elected the deputy speaker when Jagadish Shettar, a former chief minister, was the speaker. In 2009, he was elected the speaker following the resignation of Shettar, who was made a minister.