Bhubaneswar: Senior BJD leader Saluga Pradhan was on Tuesday elected unopposed as the deputy speaker of the Odisha Assembly.
The two-time tribal MLA from G Udayagiri constituency in Kandhamal district filed his nomination paper on Monday and he was the lone contestant for the post.
Speaker Pramila Mallik declared Pradhan elected uncontested as the deputy speaker of the assembly.
With this development, the Odisha Assembly now has a Dalit speaker and a tribal deputy speaker.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated Pradhan and said, "The assembly is an exalted pillar of democracy, all of us should uphold the dignity of this august House by our conduct. I request all our honourable members to extend their support and cooperation wholeheartedly to the deputy speaker in discharging his duties."
Pradhan, after his election, said, "I will try to conduct the proceedings of the House smoothly. I will respect the opinions of members of both ruling and opposition parties."
Senior Congress MLA Dasarathi Gamang and BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi, both tribals, congratulated Pradhan and vowed to cooperate with him.
The post of deputy speaker had fallen vacant after the resignation of Rajanikant Singh on November 8 citing personal reasons.