MB Rajesh of the CPI(M) has been elected Speaker of the Kerala Assembly. In an election held on Tuesday morning, May 25, Rajesh won 96 of the 140 votes from MLAs in the Assembly. PC Vishnunath of the Indian National Congress had contested against Rajesh and secured 40 votes in the Assembly. Pro tem Speaker PTA Rahim refrained from voting. MB Rajesh is the 23rd speaker of the Kerala Assembly. A former Member of Parliament of the CPI(M) in the 16th Lok Sabha, representing the Palakkad constituency, Rajesh gave up his post to contest in the Kerala Assembly elections from Thrithala. He contested against Congress’s two-time MLA VT Balram, and won the seat.
Following his election, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Opposition leader VD Satheesan accompanied Rajesh to the Speaker’s chair. Interestingly, K Radhakrishnan, a former speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, who held the post from 2006 to 2011, is now an elected member of the Assembly and is also a minister in the state cabinet. Radhakrishnan holds three cabinet berths, namely SC/ST Development, Parliamentary Affairs and Devaswom Minister (replacing Kadakkampally Surendran).
MB Rajesh who won the Thrithala seat in the 2021 election, said that his victory belonged to AK Gopalan. Rajesh’s statement is a jibe against Balram, who in 2018 sparked a controversy by calling AK Gopalan, a Communist icon in Kerala, a pedophile. Balram had questioned AKG’s morals for falling in love with his second wife Susheela when she was just 12 or 13 years old, and that too while being married to his first wife.
With Rajesh’s victory by a margin of over 2,000 votes, the LDF has clinched a constituency which was a Congress seat for the last 10 years. Thrithala was among the most keenly watched electoral fights in the 2021 election, as both Balram and Rajesh are young and dynamic candidates, representing the next generation leadership of the Congress and the CPI(M) respectively.