Uncertainty in House as BJP pulls out pro-tem Speaker

With the BJP declining the nomination of Jagdish Mukhi as pro-tem Speaker, the burden of choosing the next Speaker, on the eve of the first Assembly session, now lies with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Delhi Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung had appointed senior BJP leader and Janakpuri MLA Jagdish Mukhi as pro-tem Speaker of the Delhi Assembly and had announced that he would perform the duties of the office from January 1.

Mukhi was supposed to take oath at the L-G's residence on Tuesday. But by late Monday evening, leader of the BJP legislative party Harsh Vardhan conveyed to the L-G that the party had declined Mukhi's nomination.

While sources in the L-G's office said the matter would be decided by the Chief Minister, AAP sources said they were still undecided on the issue.

Both the BJP and the Congress said they had still not decided on the Speaker's candidature. A senior BJP leader said the party would consider the issue after Nitin Gadkari returns to the capital.

"If the Congress announces its support to the AAP on the Speaker issue, then we can allow anyone to stand for the elections. But if it decides not to support the AAP, then the BJP will field a strong candidate for the post," the leader said.

The Congress, however, said they were keeping all options open for the time being. "We will take a call on this soon. But as of now all options are open," Shakeel Ahmed, AICC general secretary-in-charge of Delhi, said.

Meanwhile, with the uncertainty over the post looming, JD(U) MLA Shoaib Iqbal has emerged as the front-runner, with JD(U) general secretary Javed Raza asking the ruling party and the Opposition to build a consensus on this candidature on Saturday. Iqbal, who has previously been Deputy Speaker, had already pledged unconditional support to the AAP.

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