Ruling BJP MLA Biswabandhu Sen was on Friday elected speaker of the Tripura Assembly with ease as Opposition Tipra Motha legislators staged a walkout before the voting for the post in protest against the seating arrangements provided to them in the House.
Although Sen’s victory was along expected lines as the BJP-IPFT ruling alliance enjoys a slim majority in the House, the walkout by Motha made it smooth sailing for the veteran MLA. Motha had backed the Opposition candidate Gopal Chandra Roy of Congress.
Sen received 32 votes — 31 from the BJP and one from its ally IPFT. On the other hand, Roy received 14 votes — 11 from CPM and 3 from Congress — in a House of 59, which was reduced to 46 after the walkout by all 13 Tipra Motha MLAs.
The BJP had won 32 of the 60 seats in the recently-held Assembly polls but its tally dropped to 31 after Union minister Pratima Bhoumik resigned from the Dhanpur Assembly seat that she had won.
A Tipra Motha MLA said they were unhappy with the seating arrangement for them despite being the second single-largest party in the House.
“We walked out because it involved our self-respect,”he said.
A Left Front insider said there was a lot to ponder over Motha’s walkout. Without attributing any motive, he referred to a call made byUnion home minister Amit Shah to Tipra Motha chief Pradyot Kishore Manikya Deb barmaonThursday.
According to Debbarma, Shah had “categorically assured” him that the name of an interlocutor, who would look into the party’s demand for a “constitutional solution” to secure the future of the tribals, would be announced by March 27.