Six-time BJD MLA Bikram Keshari Arukha was on Monday elected unopposed as the speaker of the Odisha assembly.
Arukha, the former government chief whip, replaced SN Patro who resigned from the post on health grounds.
At a special session of the assembly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik proposed Arukha’s name for the post of speaker, which was supported by members of all the parties.
The ruling BJD has 114 MLAs in the House, while the opposition BJP has 22 members, Congress has nine members, CPI(M) one and there is an Independent MLA.
BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi urged Arukha to run the House, rising above the political considerations. ”As Arukha has long experience, I expect he will be able to work impartially.” Leader of Congress legislative party Narasingha Mishra urged the new speaker to give importance to the opposition members.
Arukha, who was also the former parliamentary affairs minister, became the 21st speaker of the assembly.
On Saturday, he resigned as the vice-president of BJD.
”I seek the cooperation of all the members and will try to maintain the dignity of the House,” Arukha said, thanking the chief minister for proposing his name. Arukha is the MLA of Bhanjanagar since 1995.
Patro had resigned earlier this month when 20 minister had quit, paving the way for the reshuffling of the state cabinet.