Dehra Dun: Congress MLA Govind Singh Kunjwal was on Monday elected the new Speaker of the Uttarakhand Assembly after defeating BJP`s Harbans Kapoor by 8 votes in what is being seen as a major victory for Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna ahead of the trust vote.
Kunjwal, 67, who scored a hat-trick in recent Assembly
elections, got 39 votes and Kapoor bagged 31 votes from the
total 70 votes polled, protem Speaker Shailendra Mohan Singhal
informed the House.
His victory looked certain as Congress, which has a
strength of 32 in the house of 70, had already mustered the
support of 7 non-BJP MLAs.
All the three independents, Pritam Singh Panwar, the lone
member of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal and three members of the
BSP voted in favour of Kunjwal.
Kunjwal, an MLA from Jageshwar in Almora district and a
staunch supporter of union minister Harish Rawat, pledged to
maintain the sanctity of the house and said he would work
without any bias.
"I assure you that I will treat all the members equally
and maintain the sanctity of the house," the former
horticulture minister in the N D Tiwari government during
Earlier in the day, Bahuguna made a passionate plea to
the opposition BJP to withdraw the candidate for the Speaker
in lines of the with the highest traditions of the democracy.
However, BJP remained adamant and pressed for voting
which began around 1230 hours. After more than one hour, the
protem speaker declared the results in the house.
Congratulating the Speaker, Bahuguna hoped that the new
speaker would maintain the highest standards of democracy and
said he expects the speaker to leave imprints which would
become an example in the state. "I am sure that you are able
to earn confidence of both the ruling and opposition benches,"
Bahuguna said, "You are a Gandhian and a simple man. I
assure you that whatever direction will be issued by you in
future, the state government will obey them fully".
The first session of the newly-constituted state Assembly
is beginning from tomorrow with the address of Governor
Margaret Alva. Bahuguna would seek a trust vote during the
three-day session which would also pass vote-on-account.
Meanwhile, media persons were not allowed in the press
gallery during the voting, a move decried by the BJP members.
"This is very bad precedent that the media was not
allowed in the press gallary during the voting," said Ajay