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Why are Telangana BJP MLAs boycotting Akbaruddin Owaisi as pro tem Speaker?

The first session of the third Telangana Assembly started in Hyderabad on Saturday but not without a little drama. Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan administered oath to All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi as a pro tem Speaker. His appointment has, however, sparked a controversy as some BJP MLAs have boycotted the oath-taking event.

BJP MLA-elect from Goshamahal, Raja Singh, in a video message, said he and other saffron party MLAs would not participate in the oath-taking ceremony with Akbaruddin Owaisi presiding over the proceedings.

Raja Singh said he would never take oath as a legislator in front of AIMIM “as long as he is alive” because Akbaruddin Owaisi had made anti-Hindu remarks. “Can I take oath in front of a person (Akbaruddin Owaisi) who made anti-Hindu comments in the past?” asked Raja Singh.

Raja Singh has alleged that the incumbent Chief Minister Revanth Reddy was also scared of AIMIM just like his predecessor, K Chandrashekar Rao. In fact, the Goshamahal MLA had not taken oath back in 2018 when a member of AIMIM was made a pro tem Speaker.

Who is made a pro tem Speaker? As per the protocols, the senior-most legislator is appointed a pro tem Speaker in a state Assembly. Akbaruddin Owaisi has been appointed an MLA from Chandrayangutta constituency for a sixth term.

Alleging a violation of Assembly rules, Raja Singh has alleged that there were deserving candidates who could have been appointed pro tem Speaker but Revanth Reddy was trying to appease the minorities.

Telangana BJP President G Kishan Reddy said, “There is a tradition of a senior person being appointed as the pro-tem Speaker in the Assembly. The BJP opposes the appointment of AIMIM’s Akbaruddin Owaisi as pro-tem Speaker as per an understanding (of Congress) with AIMIM.”

Countering the BJP, State Congress spokesperson Chamala Kiran Kumar Reddy countered Raja Singh saying that pro tem Speaker is a matter related to the Constitution and that some senior MLA has to be appointed to the post. It does not show that we are with the AIMIM by making him pro tem Speaker.

“We don’t have to polarise a community to survive in politics,” the Congress spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, a delegation of seven BJP has arrived at Raj Bhawan in Hyderabad to meet the Governor to condemn the appointment of Akbaruddin Owaisi as Pro-tem Speaker.

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Published: 09 Dec 2023, 03:11 PM IST

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