Bhopal: Hours after the Assembly session got underway in the Madhya Pradesh, war of words broke out between the BJP and the ruling Congress. The BJP refused to back Congress’s NP Parajapati as the Speaker and fielded its Vijay Shah instead.
The Congress accused the BJP of breaking the long standing tradition by not forging consensus on speaker’s post and said it won’t offer deputy speaker’s post to the opposition. NP Prajapati, Gotegaon MLA and a close Kamal Nath aide, was nominated for the post a fortnight ago, while as the BJP fielded Vijay Shah on Monday.
The decision that the BJP would contest for the speaker was taken after a meeting betweenBJP’s state vice president Vinay Sahastrabuddhe and state chief Rakesh Singh.
Vijay Shah, an MLA from Harsud, is a prominent tribal face of the BJp. The move to back his name for the post of speaker is seen as a ploy to woo tribal voters ahead of Lok Sabha polls.
Tribals are a dominant force with 21% share among voters, after OBCs who constitute almost 50% of the electorate in Madhya Pradesh.
As many as 47 seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes in Madhya Pradesh, whereas there are 40 other seats where the tribal voters are in excess of 40,000 or more.
The BJP was well aware of erosion in its tribal vote bank and this was perhaps the reason Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah held various public rallies in tribal dominated regions including Mahakaushal and Malwa-Nimar. However, a resurgent Gondwana Gantantra Party and newly floated Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti (JAYS) coupled with Samanya Pichhra Alpsankhyak Kalyan Samaj ate into the tribal votes, leading to BJP candidates losing out at several seats.
Besides wooing tribals by nominating Shah as its candidate, the BJP is also planning to flex muscle in the House through this contest and showcase a fact that it is only seven away from majority.
This was vindicated from the Congress allegations of horse trading against the BJP and the party had tested solidarity by hosting dinner for all the MLAs and allies at Kamal Nath’s residence on Sunday.
With some MLAs confirming that they were contacted by the BJP, it was evident that the saffron party was also assessing outside chance of sneaking its way back to power in MP.
Both the Congress and the BJP nominees filed the nomination in the presence of senior party leaders at Assembly Secretariat in the afternoon.
“By fielding candidate for the post of assembly speaker, the Congress has laid a new tradition but everything would be clear on Tuesday,” Chief Minister Kamal Nath said.
Pressing the party stand further, Parliamentary Affairs minister speaking to the media claimed in his 35 years of parliamentary career, he has always seen appointment of speaker and deputy speaker with consensus but despite Congress’ best efforts the BJP remained adamant and fielded its candidate.
“Now we have decided to field our own candidate for the post of deputy speaker,” announced Singh claiming he had met exCM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and consulted opposition in the House but they did not budge from their stand.
Former speaker Dr Sitasharan Sharma speaking to News18 said that if there has to be a consensus, why Congress announced its name ten days ago unilaterally. “No tradition is broken, the speaker was elected through voting in 1962 and 1967 as well,” claimed Dr Sharma.
The voting for speaker’s post would take place on Jan 8 after all the remaining MLAs are sworn in.