S. Rajendran

Bangalore: Deputy Speaker of Karnataka Assembly K.G. Bopaiah is set to be unanimously elected Speaker on Wednesday with the Opposition unlikely to field a candidate, as it does not command the requisite strength in the 225-member House.

Sources in the Congress told The Hindu that no decision had so far been taken to field a candidate given the numerical strength (74 members) of the party in the House. Janata Dal (Secular) president H.D. Deve Gowda said it was for the Congress to take the lead in fielding a candidate and “we will extend support.”

The two parties put together have 101 members compared to 124 (including independents) of the ruling party. Similar to the unanimous election of Jagadish Shettar as Speaker in the first session of the 13th Legislative Assembly (in June 2008), there is no real competition for Mr. Bopaiah, elected for the second consecutive term from the Virajpet constituency. As mandated under the rules of procedure and conduct of business of the Legislative Assembly, the nomination papers will be filed by two members (one to propose and another to second the motion to be moved for the Speaker’s election) before noon on Tuesday, and the election will be gone through around the same time on Wednesday.

Sources in the BJP said that a meeting of the legislature party had been called on Tuesday wherein it would be conveyed to party members of the Lower House on the choice of candidate for the post of Speaker and a requisition would be made to all of them to abide by the party whip. Prior to this, senior leaders of the State BJP will also meet and discuss the issue.

With Mr. Shettar resigning as Speaker about a month ago to become Minister in the Yeddyurappa Cabinet, it was widely believed that there would be more than one contender in the ruling party for the post of the Speaker. There are very few precedents in the State when a Speaker resigned midway through the term of an Assembly to join the government, similar to what Mr. Shettar has done.