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N Sakthan elected Speaker of Assembly

N Sakthan elected Speaker of Assembly

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Assembly's former deputy speaker N. Sakthan, fielded as the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) nominee for the post of speaker, was on Thursday elected through the ballot.

He secured 74 votes while his opponent and two-time CPI-M legislator Ayisha Potti secured 66 votes.

The election was necessitated after speaker G. Karthikeyan, who was battling cancer, died last Saturday.

There are 140 elected members and one nominated member from the Anglo Indian community in the assembly.

The result was a foregone conclusion, but one highlight in the election was when K.B. Ganesh Kumar, a former cabinet minister in the present Oommen Chandy government, representing the Kerala Congress (Pillai) party, voted for the Left opposition candidate, making way for his party's exit from the UDF.

His father R. Balakrishna Pillai, the founder of the Kerala Congress (Pillai), on Wednesday announced that he asked his son to vote for Potti as they were unable to bear the indifferent attitude of the UDF towards their party.

Sakthan, 63, is a member of the powerful Nadar community which has a sizeable population in the capital district. A former minister, he is also a four-time legislator from the capital district and has been the deputy to Karthikeyan since 2011.

As per convention, the newly elected speaker was accompanied by Chandy and Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan to his chair on the dais after which leaders of different parties greeted him.

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