The 50-year-old CPI-M leader M.B. Rajesh on Tuesday wrote himself into record books by becoming the first legislator to be elected as the Speaker of the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly in his debut assembly election.
Two other legislators who achieved this feat became speaker later in their tenure of their first term.
The victory of Rajesh was a foregone conclusion as the ruling CPI-M led Left has a strength of 99 legislators in the 140-member assembly.
Three time Congress legislator P.C. Vishnunath was fielded by the Congress led Opposition which has a strength of 41 members.
The legislators present on the second day of the first session cast their votes when voting began at 9 a.m.
After the votes were counted, Rajesh got 96 votes and Vishnunath secured 40.
Later Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan and the pro-term speaker P.T.A. Rahim led Rajesh to the speaker’s chair.
Vijayan in his speech congratulated Rajesh and said, “he is a perfect fit to the Speaker’s chair and his responsibility is to see the conduct of the proceedings of the house and am sure he will be able to do it in the best possible way by becoming the collective voice of the house”.
Satheesan said the experience of Rajesh of being a Lok Sabha MP for a decade will certainly be of help to him in the conduct of the house and pledged full support of the opposition.
“However, the statement made by you, the other day that you will indulge in politicking outside the house, for some reason pained us. In case you engage in it, then we might have to respond in the same manner and I doubt if it would be good,” said Satheesan.
Various other leaders also spoke appreciating the victory of Rajesh and in his reply the new speaker said that he believes all the members will rise to the occasion to find solutions to various issues that the state is going through.
“Our legislature over the years has proved to be a model, for the rest of the country and we will continue in that path. I will do my best to see nothing goes wrong and we will continue to exhibit the high standards. With regard to me speaking politics outside the house, I assure all that the dignity of this chair is not at all affected,” said Rajesh.
Rajesh, who rose from the student’s rank, is a post graduate and also a law degree holder, is a two time Lok Sabha member from Palakkad, but in his attempt to secure a hat trick of wins, he however lost the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to Congress leader V.K. Sreekantan.
Incidentally, Rajesh however got even when he created a sort of upset at the Thrithala assembly constituency when he defeated hugely popular, young two time sitting Congress legislator V.T. Balaram.
Rajesh also had to face another controversy last year after his wife was alleged to have got a favour in her appointment to a College lecturer job, which was flatly denied by Rajesh and his wife.