The commencement of the first session of the 16th Madhya Pradesh assembly sparked controversy on Monday as the portrait of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was replaced with that of the late Dr. BR Ambedkar. The unexpected alteration, positioned behind the Speaker’s chair, triggered objections from Congress leaders who demanded the restoration of Nehru’s picture, warning of potential intervention if their plea went unheeded.
Unveiling the Assembly Dynamics:
The session, marking the inauguration of the assembly after recent elections, commenced under the guidance of pro-tem speaker Gopal Bhargava. He welcomed newly-elected members and initiated the oath-taking process. The four-day winter session unfolded nearly a week after the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, led by Chief Minister Mohan Yadav, assumed office.
During the session, pro-tem Speaker Gopal Bhargava informed the assembly that Umang Singhar from the Congress had been elected as the Leader of Opposition (LoP), a cabinet-level position. This announcement set the stage for a dynamic interplay between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in the legislative proceedings.
Controversial Portrait Swap:
The focal point of the controversy emerged as the portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru, one of India’s founding leaders and the first Prime Minister, was replaced with that of Dr. BR Ambedkar, a key architect of the Indian Constitution. While Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait remained on one side of the Speaker’s Chair, Nehru’s picture, traditionally displayed on the other side, was swapped.
Congress Opposition and Warning:
Congress leaders raised objections to the abrupt change and promptly demanded the restoration of Nehru’s portrait. The party issued a warning, asserting that if the portrait was not reinstated to its original position, Congress Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) would take matters into their own hands.
Nomination for Assembly Speaker:
In another significant development, the BJP nominated senior leader and former Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar for the position of assembly speaker, adding to the political dynamics in the newly constituted Madhya Pradesh assembly.
The inaugural session of the 16th Madhya Pradesh assembly sets the stage for a potentially contentious legislative term as the controversy surrounding the portrait swap unfolds. The tussle between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress, coupled with the nomination of the assembly speaker, adds layers of intrigue to the political landscape in Madhya Pradesh. As the assembly deliberates on crucial matters, the portrait alteration controversy underscores the sensitivity of symbols and legacies in Indian politics.