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Ram Niwas Goyal appointed Delhi assembly speaker, offers LoP to BJP
Monday February 23, 2015 10:04 PM, IANS

AAP legislator Ram Niwas Goyal was Monday elected the speaker and Bandana Kumari the deputy speaker on the first day of the two-day Delhi assembly session. Soon after the election, Goyal offered Leader of Opposition post to the BJP.

"I will be meeting the three BJP legislators and we will be offering them the Leader of Opposition status. It's up to them whether they accept it or not," Goyal told reporters shortly after taking over as the new speaker.

Reacting to the offer, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Vijender Gupta, who has been nominated the Leader of Opposition by his party, said they will comment on the issue once they meet the speaker.

"Let him (Goyal) call us. We will meet him and if he offers us the Leader of Opposition post, then we will think about it," Gupta told IANS.

A party needs 10 percent of the house strength to qualify for Leader of Opposition, but the BJP managed to win just three seats in the Delhi polls, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won 67 seats of the 70 seats.

Earlier, the session began with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and other legislators, including three of the Bharatiya Janata Party, taking oath.

Pro-tem Speaker Fateh Singh administered the oath of office and secrecy to the legislators.

The 67-year-old Goyal won from Shahdara constituency, while 41-year-old Bandana Kumari is legislator a from Shalimar Bagh and also the president of the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) women's wing.

Incidentally, a case of rioting and trespassing was registered against Goyal Feb 7 following a complaint by a builder who accused the legislator and his son of vandalising his property in Vivek Vihar and physically assaulting his driver.

The oath-taking ceremony took an ugly turn when BJP legislator from Rohini, Vijender Gupta raised the issue of banning the entry of media persons in the Delhi Secretariat.

Gupta was given an opportunity to congratulate the newly appointed speaker as per protocol but seconds into his address, the BJP leader started speaking about restriction on media entry at the secretariat.

Goyal quickly intervened and asked Gupta to stop and sit down as it was the first day of the new government and all issues would be discussed later.

However, Gupta did not budge and kept speaking much to the annoyance of the speaker and other legislators.

Ultimately, Gupta's microphone was turned off and he kept standing all through the ceremony for around half an hour as a mark of protest.

"I just wanted to finish what I had started. I asked for only 30 seconds with folded hands. This is pure arrogance on the part of the ruling party," a miffed Gupta told IANS after the ceremony.

The AAP won 67 seats in the 70-member assembly while the BJP was reduced to just three seats in the Feb 7 Delhi polls. The Congress was reduced to nought.

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