Bihar Speaker authorised to decide on seating arrangement for Feb 20 trust vote
The all-party meet, convened by Bihar Legislative Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary today to discuss seating arrangement during the February 20 confidence vote on Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, authorised him to take relevant decision on the issue, amid walkout by BJP.
Patna: Unable to decide whether JD(U) or BJP would sit in the opposition gallery during Bihar confidence vote on February 20, an all-party meet on Wednesday left the decision on Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary amid walkout by BJP.
JD(U) Legislature party leader in the Assembly Vijay Chaudhary made a fervent appeal to the Speaker to accord his party the status of opposition party and recognise him as the Leader of Opposition during the confidence vote.
Chaudhary told reporters that since his party has decided to vote against the confidence motion by Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi who has been expelled from the party and declared an unattached member, it should be allowed to sit in the opposition gallery.
Former chief minister Nitish Kumar also backed Chaudhary's plea.
"We have claimed the opposition seat on the basis of our number and argument that since we have to oppose the trust vote we should be given opposition status on the day," Kumar told reporters emerging from the Legislative Council of which he is a member.
He said a similar plea has been submitted in Legislative Council too to accord status of opposition party to JD(U).
Current Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav countered Chaudhary's argument by saying that confidence vote is for the Cabinet and except for Manjhi other ministers despite being suspended remain a member of JD(U).
"How can JD(U) sit in both treasury and opposition sides?" Yadav told reporters.
Before walking out of the meeting, the BJP leader accused the Speaker of adopting a "partisan" approach and "running Assembly secretariat as JD(U) party office."
Manjhi who was invited to the meeting in the capacity as leader of the House did not attend it. Legislature party leaders of RJD, Congress and CPI were present.
"We waited for Manjhi for good 15-20 minutes but he did not turn up for the all-party meeting," Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary told reporters during a meeting of Press Advisory Committee meeting of the Assembly.
Flanked by BJP leader and Deputy Speaker Amrendra Pratap Singh, the Speaker said members have to sit according to arrangements made by him.
"Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi will sit on his original chair marked for the CM despite being declared unattached but his other seven ministers who are still part of JD(U) despite being suspended will have to sit alongside their party colleagues," the Speaker said.
The Speaker said that he has given permission for live telecast of Assembly proceeding on February 20 by TV channels.