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G. Karthikeyan is UDF candidate for Speaker

Special Correspondent



G. Karthikeyan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: G. Karthikeyan is the United Democratic Front's candidate for the Speaker's post in the Kerala Assembly.

The UDF liaison committee met here on Monday and unanimously decided to allot the Speaker's post to the Congress. The Congress then nominated Mr. Karthikeyan as its candidate for the June 2 election to the post.

Mr. Karthikeyan, 62, had been a Minister two times — holding the Electricity portfolio in 1996-2001 and Food and Civil Supplies, Devaswom and Cultural Affairs in 2001-2006. He is reaching the Assembly for the sixth time this time.

His nomination was announced at a press conference in which leaders of all constituents of the front attended. Those who spoke or answered questions included front convener P.P. Thankachan, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) State general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty, and Kerala Congress(M) leader K.M. Mani.

Mr. Chandy said the UDF had said that decisions on the posts of Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister would be announced later. The front's liaison committee meeting on Monday postponed the decisions on the two remaining posts to June 22, two days before the start of the budget session of the new Assembly. On the IUML's demand for a fifth Cabinet position, Mr. Chandy said all parties in the UDF could stake their claims, but they would sit together and take decisions unanimously.

“Everything will be sorted out in a friendly manner,” Mr. Kunhalikutty chipped in. Mr. Chandy said all issues (including whether there should be one more Minister or not) would be decided before the start of the budget session.

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