Thiruvananthapuram, June 2: The 'lotus' finally bloomed on the floor of the Kerala assembly when 86-year-old veteran BJP leader O. Rajagopal took oath as a legislator on Thursday.
The first session of the 14th Kerala assembly opened on Thursday, and the day was devoted to the swearing-in of members. The two-day session ends on Friday, which has been kept for the election of the speaker.
In the May 16 assembly poll, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front swept the polls winning 91 seats, with the rival Congress-led United Democratic Front ending up with 47.
CPI-M leader Pinarayi Vijayan, 72, was sworn in along with 18 cabinet ministers on May 25.
The LDF and UDF had time and again claimed in their poll campaign that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will not win a single seat in the polls.
On Thursday morning, Rajagopal was the cynosure of all eyes when along with party workers he paid tribute at the statues of Vivekananda, Ayyankali, Martyrs Column and made a quick tour of his Nemom assembly constituency.
Rajagopal took his seat next to former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the front row.
Watching him take the oath was his state party president Kummanem Rajasekheran and other senior leaders of the party.
"I will work as a responsible and constructive opposition legislator in the floor of the assembly," said Rajagopal.
The 139 legislators of the assembly were sworn in by pro-tem Speaker and senior CPI-M legislator S. Sarma.
The legislators were sworn in according to the alphabetical order.
The ruling LDF has named two-time legislator P. Sreeramakrishnan as its candidate for Speaker, while the opposition UDF has decided to field young legislator V.P. Sajeendran as their candidate.
Though the victory of Sreeramakrishnan is a foregone conclusion, all eyes are on the stand to be taken by Rajagopal and seven-time legislator P.C. George, who in the past was with the LDF and UDF but this time won the polls as an independent candidate.
The new house has 83 legislators, who were members in the 13th Kerala Assembly, while 44 are new faces. Thirteen lawmakers are returning after a gap. There are eight women in the treasury benches, while there are none in the opposition benches.