Deadline set for notice on Assembly Speaker’s election

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Mar 10: While election of the Speaker for 12th Legislative Assembly is scheduled to be held at 10 am on March 18, the first day of budget session of the Legislature, the political parties have the deadline of giving notice for election of their candidates for the post till 12 noon on March 17. However, election of the Deputy Speaker can be held anytime later during the budget session.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the political parties, which wanted to field the candidates for the post of the Assembly Speaker, will be able to do so till 12 noon on March 17 as per Rules and Procedures governing election of the Speaker. The election will be held on March 18 at 10 am if more than one notice was received for the election.
However, if only one notice was received, the nominee would be elected unanimously for prestigious post of the Speaker.
The PDP-BJP coalition partners would give joint notice of BJP MLA from Jammu West Kavinder Gupta for his election as the new Speaker. Going by two-third majority the Government has in the Assembly, Gupta will have smooth sailing to the post of the Speaker. However, reports from NC-Congress circles indicated that they too would like unanimous election of the Speaker and wouldn’t force an election.
“If no other party gives notice for election of its nominee as the Speaker, Gupta will be elected unanimously as the Speaker at 10 am in the Legislative Assembly after which he would accompany Governor NN Vohra along with Chairman legislative Council Amrit Malhotra for joint address of the Governor to the Legislature,’’ sources said.
According to sources, after election of the Speaker, the PDP-BJP Government could offer post of the Deputy Speaker to National Conference, which will be largest opposition party in the Assembly with 15 seats followed by Congress with 12. Though as per J&K’s provisions, a party was required to have 23 seats to get status of the opposition party, the previous NC-Congress coalition Government had also given post of the Deputy Speaker to PDP, which too was not a recognized opposition party as it had 21 seats, two short of the required number.
While election of the Speaker is conducted by the Pro-tem Speaker, the election of Deputy Speaker will be conducted by the Speaker. Governor NN Vohra is scheduled to administer oath of office and secrecy to Mohammad Shafi Uri, NC MLA from Uri (Baramulla) as Pro-tem Speaker on March 13.
As reported, there has been an understanding between the coalition partners—PDP and BJP under which the BJP would get the post of Speaker while the PDP would get the post of the Legislative Council Chairman, which was falling vacant on March 27 following completion of the term of Amrit Malhotra.
PDP leader Sartaj Madni, who was Deputy Speaker in the previous Assembly, is being considered for the post of the Chairman of Legislative Council by the PDP after eight nominations to the Upper House by the Governor on recommendations of the Government later this month.

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