Election to Speaker’s post will be crucial

With the threat of cross-voting or abstention a very real one, the Speaker will play a major role

Updated - May 18, 2018 09:02 am IST

Published - May 18, 2018 12:48 am IST - Bengaluru

With the fight over government formation in Karnataka now in the Supreme Court, there is yet another battle on the floor of the House — the election to the chair of Assembly Speaker.

In the past, elections to the post have been both unanimous and acrimonious. With the threat of cross-voting or abstention defying the party whip looming large for the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance, the Speaker’s election will play a crucial role in the political play.

Coalition to contest for the post

The alliance has already announced that they would contest for the Speaker’s post and will also insist on the voting for the post soon after the elected members are sworn in as members of the Legislative Assembly. “We will contest for the Speaker’s post,” Congress-JD(S) alliance leader H.D. Kumaraswamy announced on Thursday.

“We will prop up one of our candidates for the Speaker’s post. This post will be crucial for us,” a JD(S) source said. “Having a Speaker from respective parties would help in quick decisions, especially in the case of interpretation of the anti-defection law. We may not get a fair chance if the Speaker is from BJP,” sources said.

While leaders of the Congress-JD(S) alliance indicated that they would seek election for Speaker’s chair soon after the members take oath, sources in the BJP said the party feels that election of Speaker from one among them will be a battle won ahead of the floor test.

“In fact, in a House where BJP does not enjoy a majority, as it stands today, it will need cross-voting or MLAs abstaining from voting to win the Speaker’s election. This will be a clear indication as to which way the floor test will go,” a BJP source said, pointing out that the role of the previous Speaker, who did not take a decision on disqualification of seven JD(S) rebel MLAs who cross-voted in the election to Rajya Sabha in 2016, led to the defeat of the official nominee of the party, B.M. Farooq.

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