G. Karthikeyan of Congress elected Kerala speaker (Lead)

June 2nd, 2011 - 12:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, June 2 (IANS) The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala survived its first acid test in the house Thursday when party veteran G. Karthikeyan was elected speaker of the 13th assembly.

The 62-year-old six-time Congress legislator defeated opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) nominee and former electricity minister A.K. Balan by five votes. Karthikeyan got 73 votes while Balan got 68 votes.

The voting was coordinated by protem speaker Saktan Nadar of the Congress and 141 members of the assembly participated, including the one nominated Anglo-Indian member of the Congress party.

Chandy, leader of opposition V.S. Achuthanandan and other party leaders complimented the new speaker.

The house was adjourned for the day and will now meet for the budget session beginning June 24.

A two-time former minister, Karthikeyan was left out of the 20-member Oommen Chandy cabinet. The UDF government came to power last month.

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