Thiruvananthapuram: R Selvaraj, the Congress legislator who was elected in the Neyattinkara by-election, Monday wrote himself into the record books of the Kerala assembly by becoming the first legislator to sit on both the opposition and treasury benches in the same house.
Selvaraj had quit as a legislator of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) in March this year and soon also resigned from the party.
A month later, he was given membership of the Congress and was also chosen to contest again from the same constituency in the by-election that was held June 2.
On June 15, Selvaraj won the election with a margin of 6,334 votes.
Monday morning, soon after question hour when Speaker G Karthikeyan announced that Selvaraj would be sworn in, the newly elected member was greeted with thumping of the desks by the treasury benches and lewd comments from the opposition benches.
Entering the assembly, Selvaraj went around the front row by greeting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and others. When he shook hands with P C George, the chief whip in the assembly, the gesture was greeted with visible anger by the opposition benches.
But when he reached the front row of the opposition, none of them, including Leader of Opposition V S Achuthanandan, took notice of Selvaraj, who till March was sitting with them.
Later, Selvaraj was seated in the back row, increasing the tally of the Chandy government to 73 in the 140-member Kerala assembly. The Left opposition has 67 members.