M A I N   N E W S

UPA to contest Jharkhand Speaker’s post
Floor test on March 15

Ranchi, March 13
Battlelines were tonight drawn for a show of strength between Jharkhand’s ruling NDA and the Opposition UPA for the post of Assembly Speaker ahead of the confidence vote for Chief Minister Arjun Munda, both to be held on March 15, a day later than scheduled.

While the ruling combine named JD (U) leader and former Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari as its candidate for the post, the opposition alliance at its meeting here this evening decided to put up RJD MLA Annapoorna Devi as its challenger.

With the NDA government walking on thin ice as the election of its candidate as the Speaker would make it 40-40 in the 81-member House, efforts are on to rope in ailing NCP MLA Kamlesh Singh on its side.

Kamlesh Singh is undergoing treatment at a hospital here and may abstain from voting in the trial of strength giving the NDA an advantage.

NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar said in Delhi that Kamlesh Singh was bound by the party Whip to vote against NDA and could lose membership of the Assembly if he went against the Whip.

Kamlesh Singh, on his part, told reporters from his hospital bed “I will take a decision after consulting my supporters in my constituency.”

Although Kamlesh Singh was sworn in as a member of previous Shibu Soren-led UPA ministry, he had not so far taken oath as a member of the House nor did he turn up at yesterday’s swearing in of the Arjun Munda government although his name had figured in the list of ministers to take oath.

The NCP today served a show-cause notice to Kamlesh Singh, asking him to show cause why he should not be disqualified as an MLA since his name as a minister was announced yesterday during the swearing-in of Arjun Munda ministry. A copy of the show-cause notice would be delivered to Pro-Tem Speaker Karia Munda tomorrow, state NCP chief Lal Babu Singh Patel said.

If Namdhari was elected Speaker, reducing NDA’s strength on the floor to 40, he could still sway the arithmetic in favour of NDA by his casting vote in the event of a tie.

The nomination for election of Speaker would be taken up tomorrow, Mr Munda, who was sworn-in as Chief Minister yesterday, told reporters here after senior BJP MLA Karia Munda took oath as Pro-Tem Speaker. — PTI



NDA meeting today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 13
With an NDA government having assumed office in Jharkhand, a meeting of top alliance leaders here tomorrow is expected to discuss the strategy in Parliament.

Both BJP President L.K. Advani and NDA convenor George Fernandes have indicated they were no more in favour of a move to bring no-confidence motion against the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee in the wake of BJP-JD(U) combine forming the government in Jharkhand.

The NDA had on Friday decided to call tomorrow’s meeting to take a formal decision on whether to move a no-confidence motion against the Speaker after he suggested making a Presidential reference on the apex court directive.

While the Speaker had felt that order encroached on the Legislature’s power, NDA was of the opinion that the apex court had a right to intervene due to “unconstitutional” action of the state Governor.


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