Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Assembly today paid tribute to Speaker G Karthikeyan, who passed away two days ago.
Irrespective of party affiliations, members led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, remembered the soft-spoken Karthikeyan who conducted the affairs of the House impartially.
A highly emotional Deputy Speaker N Sakthan, who broke down while reading out the obituary reference, said this was the first instance in the state assembly when a speaker had passed away when the House was in session.
A great lover of art and literature, Karthikeyan was able to leave his stamp in various fields, Sakthan said.
Listing the reforms initiated by Karthikeyan, he said the late speaker was instrumental in deciding on not permitting the watch and ward staff inside the assembly while it was in session.
During commotion, the watch and ward staff used to create a wall in front of the speaker's podium to prevent the opposition from moving towards the podium. Karthikeyan was of the view that in a democracy, people are his protectors and there was no need to have such a security for the speaker, he said.
Describing the speaker's death as a 'great loss' to the state, the chief minister said Karthikeyan was an 'asset' to the state's public life.
With his gentle, soft-spoken and simple life, he was an example to all and earned the state's love and respect, he said.
CPI(M) veteran and opposition leader, V S Achuthanandan, said the speaker was an "absolute democrat, who while upholding government's image, also gave importance to our sentiments also."
"I respect him very much," he said.
Industries Minister and IUML leader in the House, P K Kunhalikutty, said he had lost a 'close friend' and good human being, whose presence lent a 'positive energy' to all.
Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) leader, K M Mani said Karthikeyan upheld the dignity and decorum of the House and his style of functioning was a model for those in public life to follow.
He held many training programmes for the MLAs and assembly staff, Mani said.
Ministers K P Mohan and Anoop Jacob, former minister Ganesh Kumar and CPI leader C Divakaran were among those who spoke.
Karthikeyan died on Saturday at a Bengaluru hospital, where he had been admitted for Hepato Cellular Cancer (liver cancer) some days ago, after his condition deteriorated due to multi-organ failure.
The Assembly was adjourned for the day.