UT Khader set to take over as Karnataka Assembly’s first Muslim Speaker, files nomination papers

Five-time MLA will be 3rd Speaker from Coastal Karnataka after Bantwal Vaikunta Baliga and Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 23, 2023 | 1:01 PMUpdatedMay 23, 2023 | 1:01 PM

Speaker of Karnataka Assembly UT Khader

Five-time MLA UT Khader is set to be the Speaker of the 16th Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

Though he was reluctant to be the Chair, senior leaders, including AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, met at Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s residence on Tuesday, 23 May, and convinced the 53-year-old Mangaluru MLA to take up the post.

Several others, including Gadag MLA HK Patil, earlier refused to be the Speaker.

“Khader filed his nomination papers around 11.30 am. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, and Cabinet ministers accompanied him,” Khader’s office told South First.

In the recently concluded Assembly elections, Khader registered his fifth consecutive win from the Mangaluru Assembly seat by defeating BJP’s Sathish Kumpala by a margin of 19,739 votes.

Also read: Congress likely to expand Cabinet on 26 or 27 May

Meeting at CM’s residence

The Congress was keen on appointing one of its senior leaders, HK Patil or RV Deshpande, as the Speaker. However, after both of them did not agree, the party opted for another senior and experienced leader, sources said.

After Patil’s name surfaced for the Speaker post, he met the party’s high command and told them that he was not interested. He wanted to be in the Cabinet.

Also read: Meet the first-time Karnataka MLAs who stand apart

First Muslim Speaker

Khader is likely to be elected unanimously as the Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

He will be the first Muslim to become the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He will be the 23rd Chairman of the Assembly.

He will also be the third legislator from Coastal Karnataka to be the Speaker.

Belthangady’s Bantwal Vaikunta Baliga and Sirsi’s Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri were the two others from the coastal region who had held the posts in 1962 and 2019, respectively.

As a minister, Khader had held various portfolios such as Urban Development, Health and Family Welfare and Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs.