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Vaju Vala unanimously elected new speaker of Gujarat Assembly

Name suggested by Modi, unanimously supported by opposition Congress

Premal Balan  |  Gandhinagar 

Veteran legislator and former finance minister, Vajubhai Vala, was on Wednesday elected unanimously as speaker of the 13th Gujarat assembly.

Name of the seven-time MLA was proposed by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and was supported by the opposition Congress, during the first day of maiden session of the newly elected assembly.

After being unanimously elected Vala assured the members of the assembly that he will try and fulfill all their expectation and maintain prestige of the August house.

"Many times it has been alleged that voice of the opposition is not heard. I assure them they will be given the due opportunity to raise their concerns," Vala said after taking charge.

He talked of bigger role that Gujarat can play in development of the country. "Development is mere a physical term. Gujarat is an integral part of India and we need to work for the development of the country," he said.

Vala further assured that he would uphold the traditions and values of his post, but also expected all the members to do the same in return and refrain from making any unparliamentary comments.

Congratulating Vala on his feat, Modi acknowledged his contribution to state and said that he has always been a motivational force for everyone.

Leader of the opposition Shankarsinh Vaghela also appreciated Vala's role in state politics and urged him to set an example like veteran parliamentarian and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee. "Though CPI (Communist Party of India) cadre is stricter than BJP, Chatterjee still managed to remain unbiased while in the chair of speaker," Vaghela said. He further urged the new speaker to rise above partyline and uphold the tradition put in place by his predecessors.

Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) president and Vala's colleague since his teenage days, Keshubhai Patel, too greeted the BJP leader on becoming the speaker. He reminded Vala that the chair on which he would be sitting was like thrown of king Vikram Aditya. "One who sits on it has to be impartial and deliver justice," he said. The former chief minister urged Vala to practice what he preaches, as it would help him run the house smoothly.

Vala, who holds the record of presenting the most number of state Budgets (14 times), had resigned from the primary membership of BJP on Tuesday before filing his nomination papers for the post.

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First Published: Wed, January 23 2013. 15:56 IST