Bihar speaker Vijay Sinha yet to quit despite change of government

Bihar’s grand alliance will work on a priority to replace the assembly Speaker and chairman of the legislative council. The move comes even as the current chairs have not resigned and the BJP seems to be preparing for some kind of a showdown. Both posts are held by BJP legislators. BJP MLA Vijay Kumar Sinha is the assembly Speaker and BJP MLC Awadhesh Naraian Singh is the chairman of the legislative council.

After Sinha did not quit following change of government, 50 MLAs of the grand alliance moved a motion for removal of the Speaker on Wednesday. “We have given notice to a motion for removal of the Speaker but morally he should offer his resignation,” Manoj Kumar Jha, RJD leader told ET. The grand alliance is not worried about any further trouble since it has the support of 164 MLAs.

However, Speaker Sinha is in Delhi to meet BJP leaders. BJP has raised the issue of Kumar’s ‘unruly behaviour’ with the Speaker in the House. “Who is JDU or Nitish Kumar to decide on what the Speaker should do? There is no precedent in the country’s political history, where the chief minister behaved in such an unruly manner with the Speaker inside the assembly,” alleged Bihar BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal while speaking to ET. “The Speaker used to ensure that if there are 20 questions, all 20 are answered in the House. Probably, Nitish Kumar didn’t like that. Why would the Speaker resign? Let the floor test happen,” he said, hinting at some effort to create trouble for the nascent government.

Although ‘neutral’ theoretically, the ruling party always prefer the Speaker to be someone who enjoys its confidence. Incumbent Speakers usually quit when there is change of government midway. A recent examples was when KR Ramesh Kumar quit as the Karnataka assembly Speaker after Yediyurappa won the confidence vote with the help of defectors from the Congress and JDS. In Maharashtra, it was an easier task for the Shinde-BJP government to have a Speaker of choice as the post was vacant.

The special assembly session of the Bihar assembly for two days, starting from August 24, will begin with a motion against the Speaker, if Sinha doesn’t quit. When the House takes up such a motion the proceedings will be chaired by the deputy speaker, as rules do not allow the Speaker to preside over the House when there is a motion against him. Maheshwar Hazari is the Bihar deputy speaker and belongs to JDU. He is expected to conduct proceedings for removal of the Speaker and the election of a new one.

In the legislative council, several JDU leaders were in talks with acting chairman Awadhesh Narain Singh, trying to persuade him to resign. “I am the acting chairman and whenever the election takes place, I will automatically resign. If asked, I can resign earlier too. There is no problem,” Singh told ET. Unlike the assembly, where the Kumar government needs to win trust votes and pass money bills, decisions of the presiding officer in the council doesn’t have much consequences for a government.

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