Who is Ramesh Kumar? Karnataka Assembly Speaker at centre of political drama in state

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Updated: July 10, 2019 8:46:49 AM

Ramesh Kumar is a Congress MLA and represents the Srinivaspur assembly constituency of Kolar district in the House. He was elected as the Speaker of the House last year after Congress and JD(S) forged a post-poll alliance in the state to keep the BJP away from power.

Karnataka crisis, Karnataka political crisis, karnataka speaker, karnatakaKarnataka Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar. (File Photo)

Karnataka crisis: Karnataka Legislative Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar is at the centre of the political drama that has pushed the HD Kumaraswamy government on the brink of a collapse. Even though he has rejected the resignations of 13 rebel MLAs, the Speaker holds the key to the future of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government in the state. Ahead of his decision to reject the resignation of the rebel MLAs, the Speaker said that every step he takes will become history and he cannot afford to make any mistakes.

Also Read: Karnataka crisis: Siddaramaiah blames Modi-Shah for impasse, demands disqualification of 13 rebel MLAs

Kumar is a Congress MLA and represents the Srinivaspur assembly constituency of Kolar district in the House. He was elected as the Speaker of the House last year after Congress and JD(S) forged a post-poll alliance in the state to keep the BJP away from power. As per the power-sharing agreement between the Congress and JD(S), the Speaker’s post went to the Congress and Kumar was nominated for the top job in the Assembly. He was elected unopposed as the Speaker of Karnataka Legislative Assembly because of the Congress and JD(S) unity. The alliance government had the support of 118 MLAs in 224 chairs House.

Kumar is a five-term member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly and served as a minister in the previous government. Former CM Siddaramaiah had inducted Kumar into his Cabinet in June 2016 and handed him charge of the Health and Family Welfare department.

Kumar, 69, began his political career in the 70s when he joined the Congress. In mid-80s, he quit the Congress and sided with the Janata Party. He later joined the Janata Dal in 90s before making a comback to the Congress in early 2000s.

Kumar had won his first election in 1978. He, however, lost in 1983 elections. In the 1985 elections, he successfully contested on a Janata Party ticket but lost in 1989 elections. When Assembly elections were held in 1994, he again won on a Janata Dal ticket but lost in the following elections in 1999, this time as an independent candidate. After 1999 election loss, Kumar joined the Congress. He contested 2004 elections and was elected to the Legislative Assembly. In the 2008 Assembly election, Kumar lost his seat to the Janata Dal.

When the next elections were held in 2013, Kumar contested on a Congress ticket, defeating then arch-rival GK Venkata Shiva Reddy of the Janata Dal (Secular). He again won in 2018 assembly election, the first consecutive win in his political career. He served as a Cabinet minister in the Siddaramaiah government.

Since the Karnataka Assembly was delivered a hung verdict in the 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress decided to extend unconditional support to the Janata Dal (Secular). As per the agreement between the Congress and JD(S), the Speaker post went to the Congress’ kitty. Kumar was elected unopposed as the Speaker.

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