Shimla: The Himachal assembly unanimously proposed Brij Bihari Butail of the congress as the Speaker of the state assembly at the opening session being held at Tapovan, Dharmshala, a little while ago.
The congress presented two sets of papers nominating Butail name for the post of Speaker. One set was presented by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh that was seconded by power minister Sujjan Singh Pathania and the second set was presented by IPH minister Vidya Stokes and was seconded by urban development minister Sudhir Sharma.
Opposition BJP have decided to endorse the name of Butail with leader of opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal presenting a set of papers proposing his name that was seconded by party state president Satpal Satti.
Though election of Butail as a speaker is a foregone certainty but officially the election is scheduled to be held tomorrow.
Parliamentary affair minister Mukhesh Agnihotri let a section of the media know that no other papers were filed and as of now there is no election scheduled for the deputy speaker position.
Election of Butail to the position is being considered a setback to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who had pushed for having Kuldeep Kumar for the coveted constitutional post.
Hectic lobbying and an intense intra-party squabbling over the party nominee is said to have been decided late at night on January 7 after the intervention of the party high command.
Earlier, Virbhadra’s detractors in the party, which include health minister Kaul Singh and AICC member Asha Kumari, had approached the central party leaders, including president Sonia Gandhi, about the arbitrary manner in which the chief minister had appointed chairman’s and vice-chairman’s to various public sector undertakings and other positions.
Butail, a tea planter from Palampur, is the richest legislator in the current assembly as per the affidavit of assets filed before the election commission of India.
Butail remained in the Virbhadra cabinet in the last term but was dropped later and made political advisor.
In the run to the state assembly elections in 2012, Butail had sided with union minister Anand Sharma and held a large public rally in support of him in Kangra.
BBL Butail is the common candidate of BJP and Congress for Himachal assembly speakers post.