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Updated: October 3, 2012 10:08 IST

Dalit set to become Speaker after 50 years

Special Correspondent
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A file photo of P. Dhanapal, Deputy Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The AIADMK has nominated Mr. Dhanapal for the post of Speaker.
The Hindu
A file photo of P. Dhanapal, Deputy Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly. The AIADMK has nominated Mr. Dhanapal for the post of Speaker.

The election to the post of Speaker will be held on October 10 following the resignation of D. Jayakumar on September 29.

The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Tuesday named Deputy Speaker P. Dhanapal (61) as its nominee for the post of Assembly Speaker, paving the way for a Dalit to become Speaker after a gap of 50 years.

The election to the post of Speaker will be held on October 10 following the resignation of D. Jayakumar on September 29.

The first Dalit Speaker in the State was J. Sivashanmugam Pillai, who held the post from 1946 to 1955.

As the ruling party has a strength of 152 members in the House of 234 [excluding one nominated member], Mr. Dhanapal’s election as Speaker is only a matter of formality. “Amma [Chief Minister Jayalalithaa]'s gesture is great,” said Mr. Dhanapal.

Mr. Dhanapal represents the Rasipuram (reserved) constituency of Namakkal. In the past, He was elected from the Sankari constituency four times. During the previous AIADMK regime (2001-2006), he held the portfolio of Food and Cooperation for one and a half years.Mr. Dhanapal is one among a handful of the ruling party MLAs who were elected in 1977, the year in which the AIADMK came to power for the first time.

Announcing the decision of Governor K. Rosaiah to hold the election next week, a communication issued by Assembly Secretary A.M.P. Jamaludeen on Tuesday said nomination papers could be obtained from him and the last date for receipt of filled nominations was October 9 [until noon].

Another communication stated that the Assembly would meet at 10 a.m. on October 10 instead of October 29.

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