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No confidence motion not taken up

Special Correspondent


Manohar elected Speaker and Vikramarka Deputy Speaker


HYDERABAD: The Congress got its candidates – Nadendla Manohar and M. Bhatti Vikramarka – elected as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively of the Legislative Assembly by comfortable margins in a victory that was devalued by the last-minute tweaking of the rules on Saturday.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy also earned a respite when the newly-elected Deputy Speaker adjourned the House sine die, in one of the shortest-ever sessions that lasted two-and-a-half hours, without even making a mention of the notice for no confidence motion tabled by the 90-member strong Telugu Desam Party.

Although the numbers were clearly in its favour --183 with the support of its allies -- the Congress faced the risk of its own MLAs, owing allegiance to YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, voting in favour of the no confidence motion if and when it came up for consideration. But this did not happen since Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy's supporters voted in favour of the Congress candidates after the party flexed its muscle on Friday by mobilising 24 MLAs.

In an election marred by controversy, pro tem Speaker J.C. Diwakar Reddy ordered that the election would take place through division of votes with members standing in their places and being counted, thereby annulling a bulletin issued by the Legislature Secretary S. Raja Sadaram Friday night announcing that members would be given ballot papers.

Setting aside the objections raised by Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu against the change of rules overnight, the pro tem Speaker conducted the election. After a head-count, he declared Mr. Manohar elected as he had polled 158 votes against 90 by TDP candidate K.E. Krishnamurthy.

Later, in the election to the Deputy Speaker's post, Mr. Vikramarka defeated Suddala Devaiah of the TDP by 164 votes to 88. In the Council, A. Chakrapani and Nethi Vidyasagar were elected unopposed as Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively.

This is the first time in history of the Andhra Pradesh Legislature that Presiding Officers of both Houses and their deputies were elected on the same day.

Mr. Manohar's election was marked by some drama as 23 Telugu Desam members trooped to the podium, resenting the announcement by Mr. Diwakar Reddy about change in rules for the Speaker's election.

When the voting was finally held, members of the Congress, Praja Rajyam, and MIM stood up in favour of Mr. Manohar while those of the TDP and CPI(M) favoured Mr. Krishnamurthy.

TRS members abstained from the election while those of CPI, Lok Satta, and BJP did not participate in it.

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