Thammineni Seetharam of the YSRCP was on Thursday unanimously elected as the Speaker of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. Seetharam, who was elected from Amadalavalasa constituency in Srikakulam district, was declared elected to the post by the Protem Speaker C Appala Naidu on the second day of the first session of the new state Assembly.
Seetharam was elected unopposed since only he had filed the nomination for the post of Speaker. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA Atchan Naidu and others greeted Seetharam and accompanied him to the chair.
TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu also congratulated Seetharam and recalled that the latter had entered politics during his student days, responding to a call given by TDP founder N T Rama Rao.
Seetharam, a six-time MLA, began his political career with the TDP. He served as a minister in the cabinets of both N. T. Rama Rao and Chandrababu Naidu in 1980s and 1990s.He had joined the Praja Rajyam Party floated by actor Chiranjeevi in 2009 but lost the elections. In 2013, he joined YSRCP but was again defeated in 2014.
The 64-year-old was elected as a YSRCP candidate in the recent elections. He is the fourth leader from Srikakulam to become the Speaker.
Speaking to reporters after his name was announced last week, Seetharam had said, "I will try to coordinate with the ruling YSRCP and opposition TDP Members in the House. I will give equal opportunities to the ruling and opposition party members based on their strength in the House. I will never try to muzzle the voice of the opposition party."
With Jagan announcing the name of a leader from Srikakulam district, it seems that the party also wants to project that it cares about the interests of north coastal Andhra, referred to as the Uttarandhra region. Jagan's predecessor, Chandrababu Naidu, was accused of ignoring the aspirations of the people in this region, with many analysts suggesting that it was one of the reasons for his loss.