Multi-millionaire tea planter set to become Himachal speaker



Dharamsala: Congress leader Brij Behari Lal Butail, a leading tea grower in the Kangra Valley, is all set to become the Himachal Pradesh assembly speaker, party leaders said here Tuesday.

His election to the post is almost certain as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has already endorsed his name, Industry Minister Mukesh Agnihotri said.

He said three sets of nomination papers were filed Tuesday by Butail. "One of the nominations was seconded by Leader of Opposition P.K. Dhumal," Agnihotri said.

Assembly secretary Balbir Tegta told reporters that only Butail has filed papers and the election process would be completed Wednesday.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh told reporters here that Butail's name was finalised by the party by consensus.

Butail, 71, was elected to the assembly for the fifth time from Palampur, the town known for growing tea.

He was first elected to the assembly in 1985 and was re-elected in 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2012.

Butail's declared assets before the state assembly elections were the highest worth Rs.169 crore, says the NGO National Election Watch.

It says his assets have grown from Rs.91.92 crore in 2007 assembly polls to Rs.169.21 crore in 2012.

IANS