Tuesday saw the filing of candidature papers for the position of Speaker in the recently elected Karnataka Assembly by former minister and five-term politician UT Khader. The 53-year-old Khader was escorted by chief minister Siddaramaiah and deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar, both of whom took office on Saturday.
Eight MLAs were sworn in as ministers alongside Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar after the Congress narrowly defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party by 135 seats to 66 in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly election. Since then, the Congress has been gradually assembling its executive and legislative team.
Before choosing Khader to preside over the new Assembly, the party is said to have considered a number of candidates, including Congressmen from the Haliyal, Gadag, and Sira constituencies RV Deshpande, HK Patil, and TB Jayachandra. For the three-day session that started on Monday so the new members could take their oaths, Deshpande served as the pro-tem Speaker.
Since the 2007 byelection, Khader has served as the MLA for the Mangalore Assembly district. He will become the youngest Speaker in the state if his nomination goes as planned.
The Congress MLA has a law degree and served as Siddaramaiah’s first chief minister from 2013 to 2018 as the minister of health, food, and civil supplies. In the short-lived Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance that emerged following the 2018 election, he also served as minister of housing and urban development.