AAP’s Dhir elected Speaker of House

DelhiLeader of Opposition Harsh Vardhan greets Dhir as Kejriwal looks on

The week-long suspense over who would be the Speaker of the Delhi Assembly ended on Friday with AAP MLA from Jangpura Maninder Singh Dhir being elected to the chair.

Dhir was elected with support of the MLAs of the Congress, the Janta Dal (United) and an Independent.

Thirty-seven MLAs voted for Dhir while BJP candidate Jagdish Mukhi got the support of 32 MLAs from his party and ally Akali Dal. During the election process, pro-tem Speaker Mateen Ahmed declared Dhir as Speaker. This irked BJP MLAs as he made the announcement even before BJP could officially propose Jagdish Mukhi's candidature for the post.

"There is a procedure for everything... You have to announce how many votes Dhir got and how many were against him," BJP MLA Ramesh Bidhuri said.

"Kya farak padata hai, 28 hai ya 32," replied Ahmed, adding fuel to the protests.

After the election, Kejriwal and the Leader of the Opposition Harsh Vardhan greeted Dhir.

Harsh Vardhan said, "We would expect you to treat everyone in the House with equality. This is the seat that was occupied by people like Vitthal Bhai Patel. And we would like you to not be a party speaker but Speaker of the Assembly. We wish that you would conduct yourself in a manner so that you will be remembered in history."

Earlier, Congress had asked its MLAs to support Dhir. Delhi Congress chief Lovely said, "We cannot give support to the BJP. So we voted for the AAP candidate."

After he assumed chair, Dhir came under fire from Congress and BJP MLAs. When MLAs protested against AAP members doing the rounds in their areas, Dhir replied, "I will discuss the issue with the Leader of the House (CM)," creating an uproar in the Assembly. Not understanding the reason for this, he said, "I just said I will discuss this with him. I never said I will seek advice."

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