No free-run to NDA for Speaker post as Oppn fields its nominee

No free-run to NDA for Speaker post as Oppn fields its nominee

New Delhi: Breaking the tradition, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led Grand Alliance (GA) has fielded Awadh Bihari Choudhary as a candidate against the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Vijay Kumar Sinha for the post of Speaker in the Bihar assembly.

With this move, the Grand Alliance has given a tough signal to the ruling NDA alliance that it would play the role of a strong opposition inside the assembly.

Even though the Opposition has less numbers than the ruling alliance in the assembly, the contest for the Speaker's post is going to be very interesting as it would be the first test of strength for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led NDA government which has a 'slim' majority in the 243-member house. The Grand Alliance has 110 members while the NDA has 126 members — just four MLAs from the halfway mark of 122.

As per experts, the opposition's move has come as a shocker for NDA alliance, which is banking upon the support of smaller partners like Vikasheel Inssan Party (VIP) and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM).

Both Choudhary, a six-time RJD MLA and Sinha, a senior BJP MLA, expressed confidence about having the required number of MLAs to win the election.

"All the allies of Mahagathbandhan — RJD, Congress and three Left parties — expressed of fielding our own candidate. So we decided to field Choudhary as he is a senior legislator with wide experience and had the ability to run the House impartially. It's a move to strike a balance between Opposition and ruling parties. His election as Speaker would help members raise people's issues and get them addressed," said Tejashwi Yadav, the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly.

However, it's not yet clear whether five MLAs of Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM would support the Opposition's candidate or not.

Commenting on the GA's decision to field its own candidate, Tejashwi said, "During the last election for deputy

chairman's post in Rajya Sabha, there was a decision to field a candidate from United

Progressive Alliance and our Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha contested it."

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