GUWAHATI, Jan 30 - Senior legislator and former minister Hitendra Nath Goswami of the ruling BJP was today elected as the 20th Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly.
Seven nominations were filed in favour of Goswami who was the only candidate for the position. One nomination paper was, however, found invalid.
�I declare that Hitendra Nath Goswami is elected as Speaker of the House unanimously,� Assam Assembly Deputy Speaker Dilip Kumar Paul, who conducted the proceedings at the beginning of the first day of the Budget Session, said.
A former minister in the AGP government, Goswami was elected from Jorhat LAC for three consecutive terms from 1991 to 2006 as an AGP candidate. He was elected from the prestigious seat in the last election on a BJP ticket.
Born on August 10, 1957, Goswami is a postgraduate in Chemistry. He also did LLB from Gauhati University, besides a course on journalism.
A founder secretary of the North East Region Students Union, Goswami, during his university days, had taken active part in student politics. He also served as the general secretary of AGP from 1991 to 1996.
Goswami, who incidentally is the third legislator representing the Jorhat LAC to become Speaker after Debeswar Sarmah (1946-47) and Kuladhar Chaliha (1947-52), in his speech assured to work in an impartial manner to uphold the dignity of the House.
�I assure you the intention will not be to adjourn the House, but to ensure that the proceedings are smooth,� he said, describing the Assembly as the temple of democracy.
Seeking cooperation from all the members, the new Speaker said a special device can be worked out to ensure that the first-time MLAs get ample opportunity to speak in the House.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia of Congress, former Chief Minister Prafulla Mahanta of AGP, BPF�s Pramila Rani Brahma and AIUDF�s Hafiz Bashir Ahmed Kasimi, among others, congratulated Goswami on his new assignment and assured him of their support.
�We assure you of our cooperation and we are sure you will be able to uphold the dignity of the House,� Sonowal said, wishing the new Speaker success in his latest role.
Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi appreciated Goswami�s ability, honesty commitment and said it is not easy to win four times from a seat like Jorhat where voters are politically conscious.
The Speaker�s chair had fallen vacant after incumbent Ranjeet Dass had resigned following his appointment as the State BJP president.