Will Pro tem Speaker Bopaiah be fair?

Bengaluru: In a move which has become controversial, former Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah was sworn in as Protem Speaker of the newly constituted fifteenth Assembly by Governor Vajubhai Vala. There are others who are senior to him in the new Assembly including former industries minister R.V. Deshpande and former BJP minister Umesh Katti who have won more Assembly terms than him.

A four-time BJP MLA from Virajpet in Kodagu district, Bopaiah held the Speaker post when the BJP was in power and succeeded Jagadish Shettar in 2009 during the tenure of the BJP government led by B.S. Yeddyurappa. 

In 2010 when the internal squabbles in the BJP  reached a flashpoint with some Independents withdrawing support to the Yeddyurappa government, then Speaker Bopaiah disqualified five independents claiming that they had attended the BJP Legislature Party meeting and had become the BJP’s associate members. Citing this reason, he disqualified the legislators which was later contested by the Independents in the high court and Supreme Court. Finally, the Supreme Court held the Speaker’s act unconstitutional and restored the membership of the Independent members.

Mr Bopaiah has a challenging task on hand-oversee the floor test of Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa. But this time, since the Supreme Court had asked the government to video-record the entire proceedings, he has to go by the rule book. Moreover he will be a Protem Speaker and will have no right to take action against any member.

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