Chandigarh: BJP MLA from Jagadhri Kanwarpal Gujjar was on Monday unanimously elected Speaker of Haryana Assembly on the opening day of the first session of the newly elected House.
Kanwarpal Gujjar's name was proposed and seconded by Haryana Cabinet Ministers Ram Bilas Sharma and Capt Abhimanyu, respectively.
There was no opposition to his name and the Speaker was unanimously elected.
The two-time MLA was born in 1960 and is a graduate. He was first elected MLA in 2000 when INLD-BJP ruled the state.
Immediately after his election, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was the first to congratulate him and assure cooperation followed by others, including Haryana Ministers, BJP and opposition MLAs, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala.
However, HJC MLAs Kuldeep Bishnoi and his wife Renuka Bishnoi left the House when the Speaker was elected. INLD MLA Naina Chautala, wife of party's jailed leader Abhay Singh Chautala, was also not present then, though she had made an appearance earlier.
Speaking on the occasion, Khattar told the new Speaker that the latter's experience was vast and he was known for his quick and impartial decision making quality.
INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said Kanwar Pal was a member of the assembly from 2000 to 2005 and his conduct in the House at the time had impressed all.
Before the Speaker's election, pro-tem Speaker Raghubir Singh Kadian administered oath to the legislators of the 90-member House.
Khattar, who took oath as 'Manohar Lal', was the first to be administered oath by the pro-tem Speaker.
He was followed by the ministers, including cabinet ministers Ram Bilas Sharma and Abhimanyu, Om Parkash Dhankar, Anil Vij, Narbir Singh, Kavita Jain, and Ministers of State Bikram Singh Yadav, Krishan Kumar Bedi and Karan Dev Kamboj.
Abhimanyu took the oath in Sanskrit and Khattar took it in Hindi, while other ministers took it in Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu.
After the Ministers and 13 women MLAs had taken oath, the remining process took place district-wise in alphabetical order.
The MLAs from Ambala district were the first to take oath, while former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, whose assembly constituency is Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak district, took oath in Hindi towards the end.
Congress' Kaithal MLA and former Minister Randeep Singh Surjewala was not present in the House today and he would be administered the oath later.
Khattar said maintaining the decorum of the House is not just the responsibility of the Speaker, but all MLAs including the ruling and opposition members.
He said since a majority of the MLAs elected to the present House were first-timers, they should be given more time to speak as well as the 13 first-time elected women members, the highest number since the formation of Haryana in 1966.
Khattar also expressed concern over the short duration of sessions held in recent years, saying average sitting held per year worked out to ten.
He said there are many states where the sittings vary between 30-40 and hoped the sittings in the state assembly would increase so that elected representatives get enough time to raise issues in the interests of the public.
Chautala too expressed concern over the issue and hoped things would change now and the newly elected MLAs would get more time to speak.
Hooda said earlier there was practice of calling even one-day sessions before Congress had come to power in 2005.
Hooda said Congress party would extend full cooperation if new conventions are laid and healthy trends are set.
Hooda who was also a Lok Sabha MP earlier, said constructive and fruitful debates should be held and members should refrain from making personal attacks and indulging in mud-slinging.
Sometimes proceedings get serious and there is no harm if members share lighter moments, he added.
He shared an anecdote involving J B Kriplani, who was then opposition MP, and (his wife) Sucheta Kriplani, who was Minister at the Centre when Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru was the Prime Minister of the country.
"Sometimes House gets serious and a member who passes some remark in lighter vein helps ease the situation... J B Kriplani put some question to Sucheta, but the answer which the former was looking for did not come.
Kriplani told the Speaker that he needs the Chair's protection and then the Speaker asked him what for he needed protection. J B said this woman (Sucheta) troubles me in this House (Parliament) and that house (at home) also..," Hooda said, adding that the entire House then which was witnessing serious debate on some issue burst into laughter.
He further said, "we should create a healthy atmosphere where both ruling and opposition MLAs cooperate with each other so that we can contribute to the development of Haryana".