Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs in Telangana on Saturday boycotted the oath ceremony for the new legislators in the Legislative Assembly to protest All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Akbaruddin Owaisi being appointed the pro-tem Speaker, The Hindu reported.

The pro-tem speaker is the legislator who presides over the first sitting of the reconstituted Assembly, administers the oath of office to newly elected MLAs and conducts the floor test. The post of the pro-tem Speaker becomes vacant when the Assembly elects a new Speaker.

As per the convention, a senior MLA is usually made the pro-tem Speaker. However, former Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who is the senior-most MLA in the House, is in the hospital for a hip replacement surgery.

Owaisi was appointed as pro-tem Speaker by Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Friday.

T Raja Singh, the BJP MLA from the Goshamahal Assembly constituency, said on Friday that he will not take the oath during the ceremony to protest Owaisi being appointed the pro-tem Speaker. Singh said he will take oath when the Speaker of the Assembly is elected.

Singh had boycotted the oath-taking ceremony in 2018 too, when Mumtaz Khan, then an MLA of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, was made the pro-tem Speaker.

G Kishan Reddy, the BJP’s Telangana chief, on Friday questioned why Owaisi was made the pro-tem Speaker, saying “there are so many other senior legislators”.

“Within three days of taking power with a tiny majority and in danger of collapsing any day, the Congress party has gone back to its traditional ways throwing legislative practices to the winds as the party will need the Majlis Party’s support,” G Kishan Reddy alleged.

The Congress’ Telangana chief Revanth Reddy took oath as the chief minister of Telangana in Hyderabad on Thursday, days after the party defeated the Bharat Rashtra Samithi in the Assembly polls.

The Congress bagged 64 of the state’s 119 Assembly constituencies on Sunday, as per Election Commission data. A total of 60 seats is needed to form a government in Telangana. The Bharat Rashtra Samithi, which had governed Telangana since the state’s formation in 2014, won 39 seats. The BJP won eight seats.

Also read: Why KCR lost Telangana – and what it means for state parties