Congress MLA NP Prajapati was Tuesday elected Speaker of the 15th Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly in the absence of BJP MLAs who walked out in protest of the pro tem speaker's refusal to let the opposition party propose the name of its nominee for the Constitutional post.
Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has termed the development as a "black day for democracy" while MLA Narottam Mishra said the party would take legal opinion in this regard.
After proceedings for the day began, the BJP wanted to propose the name of its nominee Vijay Shah for the post of Speaker, which was not allowed by pro tem speaker Deepak Saxena.
The refusal by Saxena sparked protests with BJP MLAs rushing to the Well of the House, forcing the pro tem speaker to adjourn the proceedings twice for a period of ten minutes each.After the House reassembled, BJP members announced boycott of proceedings and staged a walkout.
In the absence of BJP MLAs, Congress members proposed the name of Prajapati, the MLA from Gotegaon, following which the pro tem speaker ordered a voice vote.
Later on the demand of BSP MLA Sanjiv Singh, the pro tem speaker also announced the division of votes which showed that Prajapati had secured all 120 votes of MLAs of Congress and its allies, except the pro tem speaker who did not participate in the process.
In the 230-member House, the Congress has 114 MLAs and is supported by seven more MLAs - SP (1) and BSP (2) and four independents. BJP has 109 MLAs.
After the walkout, Chouhan termed the pro tem speaker's decision to not let BJP propose the name of the party nominee as "anti-democratic".
"This is a black day for democracy in the history of the Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly," the former chief minister said.
"The pro tem speaker only allowed Congress candidate NP Prajapati's name to be proposed. He did not allow me to propose the name of Vijay Shah (BJP's nominee for the post of Speaker). And then he (pro tem speaker) announced that the Congress nominee was elected," Chouhan said.
"It was mentioned in the listing of House business that I will propose the name (of Shah) for the Speaker's post.
However, they took a one-sided decision without following democratic norms. Why are they (Congress) afraid? The truth would have come out if voting was done," the former MP CM claimed.
Later, BJP MLAs marched to Raj Bhavan to submit a memorandum on the issue to Governor Anandiben Patel. In the memorandum, the BJP demanded justice and claimed they were not allowed to propose the name of the party's nominee despite it being mentioned in the House business list.
"We submitted a memorandum to the governor demanding action as the democratic process was not followed by the pro tem speaker," said Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava after submission of memorandum.
Senior BJP MLA Narottam Mishra demanded that the speaker's election be conducted in presence of an observer, adding that the party consult legal experts in this regard (manner in which new speaker was elected).
The Kamal Nath-led Congress government came to power last month.