Thiruvananthapuram: Congress nominee and Deputy Speaker N Sakthan was elected as the new Speaker of the Kerala Assembly Thursday.
A four-time MLA, Sakthan defeated CPI(M) legislator Aisha Potti by securing 74 votes in the 140-member-strong Assembly, which included the vote of a nominated Anglo-Indian member.
The election was necessitated following the death of incumbent G Karthikeyan on March 7 due to cancer.
Though Kerala Congress (B), which has a lone MLA, decided to quit the ruling UDF yesterday and announced its support for the CPI(M) candidate, it did not affect Sakthan's prospects.
Representing Kattakkada constituency in the Assembly, Sakthan entered mainstream politics through trade union politics.
He belongs to the Nadar community, a strong segment mainly in the southern part of the state.
Sakthan, who was elected to the state Assembly in 1982, 2001, 2006 and 2011, served as the minister in the 2004-06 Oommen Chandy government.
He became deputy speaker after the 2011 assembly polls and presided over the proceedings of the last session of the Assembly when Karthikeyan was away for treatment.
After being declared elected as Speaker, Sakthan said he would try his best to follow the line of his predecessor who showcased a good model of taking both ruling and opposition fronts together.
Pro-tem speaker Dominic Presentation (Congress) presided over the assembly proceedings during the elections.