GUWAHATI, June 1 - Two-time BJP legislator from Sarbhog constituency Ranjit Kumar Das was today unanimously elected as the Speaker of the 14th Assam Legislative Assembly.
Das, a former Indian Information Service officer and also a former correspondent of The Assam Tribune, was the only candidate for the Speaker�s post. Four sets of nomination papers were submitted in support of his candidature.
His election was announced by pro-tem Speaker Phani Bhusan Choudhury today on the inaugural day of the 14th Legislative Assembly after the oath taking of all newly elected MLAs was completed.
Das, who had earlier worked as an educationist and has been associated with a number of cultural and literary organisations, including the Asom Sahitya Sabha, was first elected to the Assembly in 2011 on a BJP ticket. He was re-elected in the recent Assembly polls for the second consecutive term.
His election was greeted by thumping of benches by legislators cutting across party line.
In the midst of applause, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and other senior members of the House escorted Das to the Speaker�s chair once his election was announced.
Extending his greetings to Das for being elected unanimously as Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly, Sonowal termed Das as a highly efficient politician. The Chief Minister exuded optimism that the vast experience and expertise he had gained in different capacities would enable him to infuse a new sense of dynamism into the functioning of the Assembly. Sonowal also thanked the members of the Assembly for extending their unstinted support and cooperation in the entire process of election of the Speaker.
�The MLAs have all gathered in the august house in the greater interests of the people. The people have reposed faith and trust on them by electing them and it is their bounden duty to work in the interests of the people,� Sonowal added.
�Everyone must work in communion in the sacrosanct Legislative Assembly. It augurs well that every member of the Legislative Assembly, irrespective of party affiliation, has unanimously elected the Speaker which stands as a testimony to the quintessential essence of democracy. It is on the basis of this cardinal principle, all the members of the Assam Legislative Assembly must work unitedly for the peoples of Barak and Brahmaputra valleys and plains and hills,� the Chief Minister said.
Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Das has secured the high post on account of his hard work and integrity and thanked the voters of Sarbhog constituency for electing Das. He said Das resigned from the Indian Information Service to serve as a common worker of BJP for many years before becoming an MLA.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the Speaker acts as the �custodian of the House� and hoped that under the stewardship of Das there will be constructive deliberations in the Assembly for the betterment of the State.
Former Chief Minister and Congress MLA Tarun Gogoi said that Das is known for his dedication to the State and society. �Your biggest asset is your simplicity, along with honesty and commitment. From your student days you have gained wide experience in diverse fields which is very rare for any politicians. We have faith in your capability and integrity. Assam has diverse problems and all of us need to unite with regard to issues of common concern,� Gogoi said.
Debabrata Saikia, leader of Congress Legislature Party and MLA from Nazira, exuded confidence that as Speaker, Das will give equal opportunity to all members, including those of opposition parties, to raise issues in the Assembly.
Congress MLA Abdul Khaleque called upon the newly elected Speaker to provide more benefits for the journalist community.
In his reply to the felicitations, Das thanked all the members of the House for electing him unanimously and promised to act in a neutral and impartial manner. �All members will get opportunity to raise issues affecting the State and the people. That is my promise,� said the Speaker.
The Speaker added that he will try to allot more time to the women MLAs in the House to raise issues.
Das� family members, including his mother and wife, had also come to the Assembly complex this morning.