13th Kerala Assembly Session Begins on Wednesday

Thiruvananthapuram, May 31 (IANS): With Congress leader Saktan Nadar sworn in as pro-term Speaker, the 13th Kerala assembly Wednesday begins its first session after the Marxists were voted out narrowly.

Nadar will be swearing in the rest of the legislators in the 140-member house where the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) holds a narrow lead over the Left Democratic Front (LDF).

Congress veteran Oommen Chandy, 67, is the new chief minister, replacing the 87-year-old Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan who will now be the leader of the opposition.

The longest serving legislator in the assembly is Finance Minister K.M. Mani, who has won every election since 1965 from the Palai constituency in Kottayam district.

The assembly is certain to witness heated debates for more reasons than one.

It is the first time since the present rival fronts took shape in the late 1970s that a government has a wafer thin majority of just one seat more than the required majority excluding the speaker.

One of the most keenly watched legislators will be firebrand and CPI-M leader E.P. Jayarajan, who returns to the assembly for a second time after a long gap.

Congress member Hibi Eden, 27, is the 'baby' of the house.

The first battle in the legislature will be for the Speaker's post: between veteran Congress leader G. Karthikeyan and A.K. Balan of the CPI-M.


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Title: 13th Kerala Assembly Session Begins on Wednesday

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