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Last Updated Saturday September 21 2019 03:21 PM IST

BJP's deft strategy to pick pro-tem speaker may backfire

Ajish Jimmy George
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BJP's deft strategy to pick pro-tem speaker may backfire Karnataka governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday appoints BJP MLA K G Bopaiah as pro-tem speaker, ahead of Saturday's floor test. PTI

The Supreme Court's order to hold a floor test in the Karnataka Assembly on Saturday comes as a blow to the BJP.

The apex court not only cut short the 15-day time given by the governor to prove majority but also shot down the BJP's request for secret ballot and the appointment of an Anglo-Indian representative.

However, the power hungry BJP is apparently unwilling to give up. On Friday, hours after the SC ordered a floor-test, the party MLAs met governor Vajubhai Vala and appointed K G Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker.

With the appointment, the BJP is trying to subvert the spirit of the Constitution in a bid to give its chief ministerial candidate an edge in the floor test.

The pro-tem speaker is appointed for a short period, till the legislative assembly elects a new speaker. The convention and precedence is to appoint the senior-most member of the House as the pro-tem speaker.

The senior-most in this case would be Congress' R V Deshpande, who has won nine out of eight elections he contested. In contrast to this, Bopaiah became an MLA for the third time in the just-concluded elections. Undoubtedly, the decision has drawn flak from the Congress and the JD(S). They might as well contest this appointment in court.

In legislative practice, things that are not explicitly mentioned are managed by following conventions and precedence. But the claim of precedence might fall flat in this case as it is not the first time that the BJP is appointing Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker. He was pro-tem speaker in 2008 too.

Bopaiah is a trusted friend of BJP's chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.

In 2010, when the BJP was in power and several party legislators turned against Yeddyurappa, the then speaker Bopaiah disqualified 16 MLAs. The Supreme Court had then expressed its displeasure over the speaker's hasty decision and quashed it citing contravention to the principles of natural justice and fair play.

It is worth noting that Bopaiah disqualified the MLAs on October 10, 2010 when a vote of confidence was scheduled for October 12, 2010.

Governor Vajubhai Vala, who once vacated his seat for Narendra Modi to contest a byelection in 2001 is doing a disservice to his post by sending across a message that he is BJP's own.

The BJP's saffron wave was successfully spreading across the country until the Karnataka election results. The party's attempt at garnering power through any means is being watched by the country. The party will be answerable for its action as the 2019 elections are nearing - whether or not it forms a government in Karnataka.

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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