Senior BJP leader and former finance minister, Vaju Vala, was unanimously elected the new speaker of the state assembly on the first day of the first session of the 13th legislative assembly.
As the session commenced on Wednesday, CM Narendra Modi proposed Vala’s name for the post, which was supported by seniormost MLA Mohansinh Rathwa of Congress. Pro-tem speaker Neema Acharya then put the proposal for voting, which was passed unanimously by a voice vote.
This was followed by Modi, along with former chief ministers, Keshubhai Patel & Shankarsinh Vaghela, and former speaker Ganpat Vasava, leading Vala to the speaker’s chair.
Speaking after Vala’s election as speaker, Modi described him as an able administrator. “In his capacity as a senior minister, Vajubhai has been the driving force behind the state government. He has also established several records, which is no mean achievement either,” said Modi.
Leader of opposition in the state assembly, Shankarsinh Vaghela, congratulated Vala and praised his administrative skills and sense of humour. Former CM Keshubhai Patel too praised Vala and asked him to uphold the highest traditions of the house. Both also recalled their association with Vala.
In his first address to the House as speaker, Vala said, “I assure this House that I will uphold the tradition and value of this post with all sincerity and fulfill expectations of members.” “At the same time, I also expect that all members will uphold dignity of the House.” The speaker also said that he would give equal chances to the opposition, but appealed to all members to maintain dignity of the house.
A number of other MLAs also congratulated Vala, who is a six-time MLA and holds record of presenting the state budget a record 18 times. He resigned from the primary membership of BJP on Tuesday before filing his nomination papers for the post of speaker. This may mark end of political career of Vala, who has been a constant in each of the BJP governments. A senior BJP leader, however, said that nothing can be said in politics.
The House also paid condolences to former PM IK Gujral, former governors Naval Kishore Sharma & Kailashpati Mishra, former union minister Kashiram Rana, and seven former members of the state assembly, who passed away in the last few months.