Sabapathy alias V. Kothandaraman was on Wednesday unanimously appointed as the 18th Speaker of the Territorial Assembly. Pro tem Speaker T. Thiagarajan announced the unopposed election of Mr. Sabapathy as the Speaker on the floor of the House.

Immediately after the announcement, the pro tem Speaker and Chief Minister N. Rangasamy led the Speaker to the Chair. One of the senior most politicians in the Union Territory, Mr. Sabapathy won the Ariankuppam constituency on an All India N.R. Congress ticket after defeating Congress candidate T. Jayamurthy.

Elected for the sixth time, Mr. Sabapathy started his political career as a Congress worker, but was keeping away from the party for the past few years. He even contested the 2006 Assembly elections as an Independent candidate and joined the ruling AINRC before the recent polls.

Thanking the Chief Minister for reposing faith in him, Mr. Sabapathy sought the support of members in running the business of the House in an orderly manner. He expressed dismay over the decision taken by the Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to boycott the proceedings.

In his address on the floor of the House, Mr. Rangasamy lashed out at the Congress, the AIADMK and the DMK for staying away. Expressing unhappiness over the incident, he said that for the first time, the customary practice of leading the Speaker to the Chair jointly by the Chief Minister and the Opposition leader was not performed because the Congress boycotted the proceedings.

Seeking an explanation from the Congress and other parties for boycotting the proceedings, Mr. Rangasamy said that since these parties did not put up candidates for the Speaker election, they should have been present in the House. On his responsibilities, he said that people have “immense faith” in his government and that was the reason for his newly launched party's success in the elections.

After the House was adjourned sine die, Congress member K. Lakshminarayanan came to the Speaker's chamber and congratulated Mr Sabapathy.