Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vijay Kumar Sinha was on Wednesday elected as the Bihar Assembly Speaker, PTI reported. Sinha, who was a candidate of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, received 126 votes as opposed to the 114 that Rashtriya Janata Dal member Awadh Bihari Chaudhary got.
Members of the Opposition protested Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s presence in the House floor during voting as he was a member of the Legislative Council. The chair of the Assembly, however, overruled the Opposition, saying that Kumar’s presence was legitimate as he was the leader of the House.
“In this very House, we have seen Lalu Yadav ji attend proceedings when he was a member of Lok Sabha and Rabri Devi ji was the chief minister,” pro-tem Speaker Jitan Ram Manjhi said, according to The Indian Express. “There will be no secret voting. Those from other House aren’t voting for Speaker election. No problem in their presence.”
This is the first time that a BJP leader has occupied the Speaker’s post in the state Assembly. A Janata Dal (United) member has been the usual occupant of the Speaker’s position since the 2005 elections.
On November 11, the Janata Dal (United)-led NDA retained power in Bihar with 125 seats in the 243-member state Assembly, while the Opposition alliance comprising of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress and Left parties, won 110 seats. The majority mark to form the government was 122 in the 243-seat Bihar Assembly.