"He demanded that the disqualification notice given by the Congress against seven members be disposed of before holding the election. As the acting chairman went ahead with the process, Srinivas staged a walk-out."
Hyderabad, July 2 - Amid high drama and protest by opposition Congress party, Swamy Goud of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was Wednesday elected the first chairman of Telangana legislative council.

Goud polled 21 votes in the election held through secret ballot amid strong protest by the Congress, which termed the process undemocratic as its petition for disqualification of seven defectors is yet to be disposed of.

Congress candidate Farooq Hussain withdrew from the contest while the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) walked out to protest the manner in which the election was being held.

There was ruckus in the house as members of the main opposition party demanded postponement of the election till their petition for disqualification of seven members who defected to the TRS is disposed of.

The Congress legislators surrounded the podium. There were heated arguments between the two sides. Amid the din, acting chairman N. Vidyasagar continued the election process.

Vidyasagar and Yadav Reddy of the Congress, who defected to the TRS Tuesday, also voted for Goud. Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which has two members, also supported Goud.

After his election was formally announced, Goud said he would discharge his duties honestly and efficiently. He assured the house that he would be impartial.

Goud was a government employee and participated in the movement for separate Telangana state. He joined the TRS last year and was subsequently elected to the council from graduates' constituency in Karimnagar district.

The 60-year-old, who started his career as an attender, said it was the greatness of democracy that that a 'chaprasi' (peon) has occupied the chair of the chairman of the legislative council.

Earlier, Congress leader D. Srinivas said the manner in which the election was being conducted would lower the dignity of the house.

Accusing the TRS of engineering defections in other parties, he said holding election through secret ballot was undemocratic.

He demanded that the disqualification notice given by the Congress against seven members be disposed of before holding the election. As the acting chairman went ahead with the process, Srinivas staged a walk-out.

The TRS had only four members in 40-member house (that has four vacancies) but 13 members of the Congress, the TDP and from teachers' constituencies defected to the party last week to enable it to bag the post of the chairman.


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