Chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi on Tuesday thanked the Opposition after Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary formally announced the unanimous election of Amarendra Pratap Singh as the 17th deputy speaker of the Assembly on a day the supplementary budget and Bihar Appropriation Bill, 2012 were passed in the House.
“I would like to thank the Opposition in particular for making Singh’s election unanimous. There was a tradition of the post going to the Opposition. But it is not a rule,” said Nitish after the announcement. Modi also thanked the Opposition for accepting Singh’s candidature.
Leader of the Opposition Abdul Bari Siddiqui praised the new deputy speaker for his parliamentary acumen. But he did not fail to mention that a tradition had been broken.
“We are going back to the pre-1977 Assembly tradition. But we felt that the election of deputy speaker should be unanimous and vote should be avoided,” he said.
Singh in his short speech thanked the Opposition for their support and declared that he would function impartially whenever he chaired the proceedings. Incidentally, the move to make the BJP MLA from Ara was initially met with stiff resistance from the RJD. Finally, the RJD decided not to contest, paving the way for unanimous election of Singh.
The rapprochement attitude of the NDA towards the Opposition was evident from the beginning of the proceedings when Nitish congratulated Siddiqui for leading the badminton team of India in the Olympics. “The team has won a medal for India and Siddiqui sahib has brought glory to Bihar,” Nitish said, triggering an all-round applause in the House.
Before the House assembled for the day, RJD MLAs — carrying anti-government placards — demonstrated under the main portico of the House and demanded a CBI “probe into National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam”. The agitated members later entered the House and alleged ovaries of a large number of women were removed under NHRM.