Bengaluru, May 24 (IANS): Senior Congress leader and five-time MLA from Dakshina Kannada district U.T. Khader was unanimously elected as Karnataka Assembly Speaker on Wednesday.
Khader became the first Muslim Speaker in the history of Karnataka legislature.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Opposition party leader Basavaraj Bommai and Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar accompanied Khader to the Speakers' bench. Khader took charge from pro-rata Speaker R.V. Deshpande.
Fifty-three-year-old Khader's name was proposed by the Chief Minister. As BJP and JD (S) did not field their candidates, he was selected unanimously as the Speaker.
"Your father was a legislator and you had won the Sadana Veera award in the House. We all know that you are a very good legislator. The people who occupy the seat of Speaker must work cutting across party lines," CM Siddaramaiah stated in the Assembly.
The Assembly has senior as well as young MLAs. There are burning problems in the state. The law and order in the state must be maintained and the welfare of seven crore Kannada people must be achieved, he stated.
If law and order is not ensured, there will be no investment. If investments are not done, industries won't come. In the absence of industries, there won't be creation of jobs. Everything depends on one another. There should be discussion on this in the House. Constructive suggestions have to be given. The discussions must be healthy and your seat must ensure that, he said.
Congratulating Khader, former CM Basavaraj Bommai stated that, "You have the experience of 20 years and worked as a legislator and minister. You have never lost patience. You have been deputy leader of the opposition party. The people who sat on the chair have brought repute to it. "Your calls and decisions will impact the whole system. You should be balanced," Bommai said.
"The Constitution has special importance for the position. You have to work in an unbiased manner. You are a progressive man. You have taken all communities and religions along in your constituency and district. You can take all people along similarly in the state. We believe that you will take everyone along," he said.
Khader is a soft spoken politician who got elected from Mangaluru (Ullal) constituency for five times. He worked as Minister for Health, Minister for Food and Civil SuppliesAin the Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah in 2013. He also worked as the deputy leader of the Opposition party in the state Assembly.
Khader pursued BA LLB from Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College (SDM). His passions include biking and car racing. He had taken part in state and national level championships. A sports lover, Khader plays cricket, football, volleyball, hockey and tennis games with passion.
He was NSUI District General Secretary in 1990 and he served NSUI as Dakshina Kannada District President between 1994 to 1999. From 1999 to 2001, Khader served as the State Vice President in NSUI. He went on to become Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Secretary in 2008.
He represented the seat vacated following the death of his father in 2008 and till date he remains undefeated. He was honoured with the 'Sadana Veera' award for his performance as a legislator in the tenure of 2008 to 2013. He is also given the 'Shining India' Award for being a best legislator.
During his stint as the health minister under the Siddaramaiah government, he banned gutka, introduced bike ambulances, dialysis units in taluk government hospitals and was also awarded best health minister. He is also known for streamlining and simplifying the process for obtaining ration cards as a minister of Food and Civil Supplies.