BHUBANESWAR: Senior BJD leader and former minister Bikram Keshari Arukha was elected as the Speaker of the Odisha Assembly on Monday.
Arukha was elected at a special session of the Assembly. He was elected unopposed, becoming the 21st Speaker of the Odisha Assembly. The House was adjourned following the election. Of the 147 Assembly seats, the ruling BJD has 113 members while the opposition BJP and Congress have 22 and 9 members respectively.
The Opposition BJP and Congress did not field any candidate. Arukha was tipped to be the next Speaker ever since Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik effected the ministry revamp on June 5 by asking all his ministers to resign.
Arukha was the minister for forest and environment in the last ministry. Arukha will succeed Surjya Narayan Patro as the Speaker. Patro had also resigned on June 4 for health reasons.
Deputy Speaker Rajani Kanta Singh presided over the special session. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, leader of the Congress Legislature Party Narasingha Mishra, revenue and disaster management minister Pramila Mallik and several other senior members led Arukha to the Speaker’s chair after the election.