Samajwadi Party MLA Nitin Agarwal, who has filed his nomination for the Deputy Speaker’s post in the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, blamed the previous SP and BSP governments in the state on Sunday for the position lying vacant in the assembly for the last 14 years.
Though an SP MLA, Nitin Agarwal has filed his nomination with the support of the BJP.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh were present at the time of filing of nomination by Nitin Agarwal.
Nitin Agarwal wore a blue-coloured ‘patka’ bearing ‘Jai Shri Ram’ at the time of his nomination. His father and former UP minister Naresh Agarwal was also present.
“The deputy speaker of the Legislative Assembly is from the Opposition benches,” Nitin Agarwal said.
He added that if elected as the deputy speaker of the assembly, he will discharge his duties as per provisions of the Constitution.
“The government’s priority is that everything should be transparent. My priority as a deputy speaker will be to ensure the same,” he said.
After filing the nomination papers, the three-time MLA from Hardoi told PTI that he is yet to formally join the BJP.
Hitting out at the BSP and the SP, he said the previous governments in the state should have appointed deputy speakers, but they did not do so, as they did not believe in this constitutional post.
He thanked the chief minister for believing in this constitutional post.
When asked to comment on the timing of the election as it raises questions on the intent of the government, the 40-year-old MLA said, “Why should there be any question mark on the intention of the state government? Also, there is no rule that the deputy speaker should be elected along with the speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Whenever the speaker feels it appropriate, the deputy speaker can be elected.”
Commenting on another claim by opposition parties that through the election of the deputy speaker, the BJP-led government in UP is trying to pacify a certain section of the society, he said, “The government has done a lot for all the sections of the society. This dispensation does not believe in appeasement, and represents everybody.”
At present, the BJP has 304 MLAs in the 403-member UP Legislative Assembly followed by the Samajwadi Party which has 49 MLAs.
The Bahujan Samaj Party has 16 MLAs, while the Congress has 7 MLAs. The BJP’s ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) has 9 MLAs, while the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party has 4 MLAs. There are three independent MLAs, while there are two unattached MLAs. The Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamar Apna Dal have 1 MLA each.
In March 2018, Nitin Agarwal’s father and then Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal created a furore in the BJP minutes after joining it with comments belittling actor-politician Jaya Bachchan as someone “who used to dance in films”, remarks dubbed “unacceptable” by the then party leader Sushma Swaraj.