MP Governor to Speaker: Quit when session is reconvened

Milind Ghatwai
MP Governor to Speaker: Quit when session is reconvened

On Friday evening, the BJP met Governor Lalji Tandon with a request to intervene in the dispute over Sharad Kol's resignation.

Following a complaint by the BJP against Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati, Governor Lalji Tandon has suggested that he quit his post in accordance with a tradition that requires a Speaker to resign in the event of the party that chose him losing power.

The Governor wrote to Prajapati, asking to take up the no-confidence motion moved against him by the BJP in the Assembly secretariat on priority when the session is convened.

“Until the no-confidence motion is decided by the house, I expect you to work in accordance with the constitution, assembly rules and morality by studying the legality of every subject,” Tandon said in the letter.

The Speaker and Principal Secretary (Assembly) A P Singh did not respond to phone calls. After Chief Minister Kamal Nath stepped down before facing a trust vote on Friday, the Speaker had adjourned the Assembly sine die.

At the centre of the latest dispute is the resignation letter sent by BJP MLA Sharad Kol on March 6. Kol claimed he had sent another letter on March 16 requesting the Speaker not to accept his resignation as he had signed it “under duress”. Prajapati, however, insisted that he accepted the resignation because he did not receive any other letter or was called upon by the legislator.

On Friday evening, the BJP met Governor Tandon with a request to intervene in the dispute over Kol's resignation. “At the moment there is no leader of house and the house is not functional and the Speaker should not take any policy decision that harms or protects someone’s interests. Yet, politically motivated decisions are being taken,” Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava said in the complaint informing the governor that a no-confidence motion had been submitted against the Speaker but he did not act on it.

The BJP demanded a pro tem speaker should be appointed to ensure “constitutional values and democratic traditions” are followed. The BJP accused the speaker of following unlawful procedure to accept Kol’s resignation.

The tussle between the BJP and the Governor on one side and the Speaker on the other began over the resignation letters of 22 rebel Congress legislators. The speaker had refused to accept their resignation letters saying he would take a call only if they appear before him to let him verify if they signed voluntarily or under duress. The speaker had accepted resignation letters of six MLAs, all ministers, but accepted the remaining 16 resignations late on March 19.