Congress MLA KR Ramesh Kumar elected Karnataka Assembly Speaker

KR Ramesh Kumar, the Congress MLA from Srinivaspur, was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Karnataka Assembly on 25 May, just ahead of the floor test of the newly-elected government led by HD Kumaraswamy.

Ramesh Kumar, a six-time MLA, won from his home constituency in Kolar district of southern Karnataka region in a tight contest in the recently-concluded Assembly elections. He defeated Janata Dal (Secular) candidate GK Venkatashivareddy by 10,552 votes.

Kumar previously served as the Speaker during HD Deve Gowda and JH Patel governments in the state from 1994 to 1999. He was then a member of the Janata Dal.

Ramesh Kumar has also served as the state health and family welfare minister in the government led by former chief minister Siddaramaiah.

The path to his election became smooth after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the single-largest party in the house, withdrew the nomination of its candidate S Suresh Kumar.

The Congress leader’s name was proposed by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and seconded by Siddaramaiah.

“We are happy about your unanimous election as the speaker of the house,” said Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.

In his congratulatory speech, Yeddyurappa said, “You have an experience as a humble and fair person. The Opposition will cooperate with you in every possible way.”

“With his election again as Speaker, the chair has got new respect. There is no one more suitable for the Speaker’s post than you,” said Congress DK Shivakumar, the architect of the coalition government in the state.

Shivakumar also commended the S Suresh Kumar for withdrawing his nomination in favour of Ramesh Kumar.

“You and BJP MLA S Suresh Kumar have been good friends and we have seen fruitful interactions between the two of you. It is commendable that he withdrew his nomination to make way for your selection,” Shivakumar was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

The Congress-JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka is sharing key posts. While the CM is from JD(S), the deputy CM is a prominent Dalit face of the Congress. Since the Speaker comes from the Congress, the post of the deputy Speaker will reportedly go to either Srinivas Gowda or AT Ramaswamy, both from JD(S).