Ramanlal Vora, a prominent BJP Dalit leader was today elected unopposed as the Speaker of Gujarat Assembly, while senior BJP MLA Shambhuji Thakor won the election for Deputy Speaker's post, defeating Congress's Chandrikaben Bariya.
Vora, who held the Social Justice and Empowerment portfolio before resigning recently, is a prominent Dalit face of BJP in Gujarat, and has been elected as the MLA for five consecutive terms since 1995. All through he was a minister.
On the first day of the monsoon session today, Vora's name was proposed for the Speaker's post by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. Leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela endorsed it on behalf of Congress and other parties.
Vora is the third Speaker of the House since the 2012 Assembly polls.
Voice vote was needed for the election of Deputy Speaker, as Congress, despite not having the numbers, fielded MLA and tribal leader Chandrikaben Bariya against BJP's Shambhuji Thakor, an OBC MLA.
As BJP enjoys majority with 120 seats out of total 182, Thakor was elected through a voice vote.
The elections were necessitated as the previous Speaker Ganpat Vasava was inducted into Rupani's cabinet as a Minister for Tourism, Tribal welfare and Forests, while Deputy Speaker Atmaram Parmar also joined the ministry as Social Justice and Empowerment Minister.
Rupani became the Chief Minister, replacing Anandiben Patel, on August 1, leading to the reshuffle.