Amid a high drama, NP Prajapati, Congress MLA, was on Tuesday elected Speaker of the 15th Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly after BJP MLAs walked out in protest of the protem speaker's refusal to let the opposition party propose the name of its nominee for the Constitutional post. Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has termed the development as a "black day for democracy". After proceedings for the day began, the BJP wanted to propose the name of its nominee Vijay Shah for the post of Speaker, which was not allowed by protem speaker Deepak Saxena.
The refusal by Saxena triggered protests with BJP MLAs rushing to the Well of the House, forcing the protem speaker to adjourn the proceedings twice for a period of ten minutes each.
After the House reassembled, BJP members announced boycott of proceedings and staged a walkout. In the absence of BJP MLAs, Congress members proposed the name of Prajapati, the MLA from Gotegaon, following which the protem speaker ordered a voice vote. Prajapti secured all 120 votes of MLAs of Congress and its allies.
In the 230-member House, the Congress has 114 MLAs and is supported by seven more MLAs - SP (1) and BSP (2) and four independents. BJP has 109 MLAs.
After the walkout, Chouhan termed the protem speaker's decision to not let BJP propose the name of the party nominee as "anti-democratic".
"This is the black day for democracy in the history of the Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly," the former chief minister said.
Later, BJP MLAs walked in a march to Raj Bhawan to submit a memorandum on the issue to Governor Anandiben Patel. The Kamal Nath-led Congress government came to power last month.
On Monday, the elected former Cabinet minister Gopal Bhargava the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Madhya Pradesh Assembly. The development came after the state BJP early in the day convened a meeting of its MLAs to finalise the names of the LoP along with the candidates for speaker and deputy speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
According to reports, BJP's national observers - Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and party national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe also took part in the meeting. Sources said the party has finalised the name of the LoP on the basis of leadership's recommendations. With Shivraj Singh Chouhan pulling out of the race it was a close fight between Narottam Mishra and Gopal Bhargava for the post of LoP.
(With PTI inputs)