Congress MLA Hina Likhiram Kawre was Thursday elected deputy speaker of the Madhya Pradesh assembly amid protest by the opposition BJP before the House was adjourned sine die a day ahead of schedule. The assembly witnessed din and was adjourned multiple times after the BJP raised objection over the process followed by the Chair to elect the 33-year-old woman legislator to the post.
The main opposition party fielded its lawmaker Jagdish Devda for the post, but it eventually went to the ruling party member.
Earlier, assembly speaker N P Prajapati read out four separate proposals of treasury benches to elect the two-time legislator Kawre as Deputy Speaker.
Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava objected to this, saying his party’s proposal to elect Devda, too, should be read out along with the four proposals.
The Chair agreed to this.
Former assembly speaker Sitasharan Sharma tried to raise a point of order (objection to the procedure being adopted to elect deputy speaker) on the issue.
Bhargava and former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan backed Sharma and demanded that the former speaker be heard.
After Prajapati did not pay heed to the oppositions demand, BJP members said the House was being run "undemocratically and unilaterally" right from day one.
The BJP legislators trooped into the Well of the House and shouted slogans seeking that Sharma, one of their senior most members, be given a chance to speak.
Amid bedlam, the Speaker maintained he had already honoured Bhargava's demand and read out the five proposals, and asked the opposition not to hinder the process to elect deputy speaker.
But his words failed to mollify the opposition and the speaker adjourned the House two times for 10 minutes each.
After the House reassembled, Kawre was elected Deputy Speaker by a voice vote amid pandemonium.
The BJP lawmakers did not relent and continued to stay put in the Well, leading Prajapati to adjourn the House for a third time for 10 minutes.
When the House reassembled, the BJP MLAs shouted slogans against the speaker and accused him of being "unfair".
Rejecting the charge, Prajapati said he was impartial and respected all members, and asked the opposition not to nurse any ill feeling against him.
The opposition members said the Deputy Speaker was elected without following established rules and maintained there was no point in Prajapati now giving clarification.
Amid noisy scenes, Prajapati took up the listed business for the day, including approving the supplementary budget, and completed it.
The Assembly also thanked Governor Anandiben Patel for her address after which the speaker adjourned the House sine die a day ahead of schedule.
The newly elected 15th assembly of the state was originally slated to have a five-day session.