In yet another controversial decision, Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Friday, May 18, appointed three-time Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA KG Bopaiah as the pro tem speaker of the assembly. It comes hours after the Supreme Court questioned Vala's decision to let the BJP form the government in Karnataka despite the party not having the majority.
Based on the seniority norm and standard practice, RV Deshpande, the eight-time Congress MLA from Haliyal, should have been appointed the pro tem speaker as he is the senior-most member of the House. Several Congress members have raised their concerns over the decision to ignore Deshpande as pro tem speaker.
The move assumes a lot of significance as the pro tem speaker will play a major role in the floor test ordered by the Supreme Court. Bopaiah, the pro-tem speaker, will also be taking the call on whether the trust vote in the assembly is held either through a voice vote or ballot, according to the SC, The Times of India reported.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar took to Twitter to address the issue and said:
Shri KG Bopaiah was appointed as Pro Tem speaker even in 2008 by the then Governor. That time Bopaiah was 10 years younger than what he is today. The Congress is thus raising hoax objection. The appointment of Bopaiah Ji is as per rules and regulations. @BJP4India @BJP4Karnataka [sic]
Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court had ordered for a floor test as it stated that the elections are just a number game and whoever enjoys the majority should form the government. Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri said that the "floor test seems to be the best option."
All you need to know about BJP MLA KG Bopaiah
- Kodagu Gowda Bopaiah is an MLA from Virajpet constituency.
- The 62-year-old former Karnataka Assembly speaker is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
- In 2008, he was appointed as the pro tem speaker of the Karnataka Assembly by then-Governor Rameshwar Thakur.
- Bopaiah was the Karnataka Assembly Speaker from the years 2009 to 2013.
- He has been appointed again as the pro tem speaker to oversee the trust vote in the Assembly scheduled for 4 pm on Saturday.
- He is also known to be a trusted ally of chief minister Yeddyurappa.
- Bopaiah played a made a major role in the controversial move to disqualify 11 rebel BJP MLAs and 5 independents under anti-defection laws in October 2011.