LS Speaker contest: Om Birla’s challenger once saw his election declared void before SC restored it


PTI, Jun 25, 2024, 4:40 PM IST

New Delhi: Kodikunnil Suresh, the opposition’s pick for the Lok Sabha speaker who will go up against the BJP’s Om Birla, is a Congress veteran, an eight-term MP and one whose election in 2009 was declared invalid by the Kerala High Court before being restored by the Supreme Court.

Birla is seeking his second term as the speaker of the Lower House of Parliament.

Suresh, 66, won from the Mavelikkara (SC) constituency in Kerala with a margin of just 10,000 votes.

His first name is derived from Kodikunnil, in Thiruvananthapuram, where he was born on June 4, 1962.

Suresh was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1989 and then again in the 1991, 1996 and 1999 elections. He lost the polls in 1998 and 2004.

In 2009, he won again but his victory was challenged by his nearest rival who alleged that Suresh, then a five-time MP, produced a fake caste certificate and that he was a Christian.

The Kerala High Court had declared his election invalid but the decision was later overturned by the Supreme Court.

Allowing the election petition of defeated candidate A S Anil Kumar of the CPI and two others, the high court had ruled that Suresh was not a member of the ‘Cheramar’ community and thereby, not a Scheduled Caste.

The court also held that he was “disqualified” to contest from the Mavelikara constituency as it is reserved for Schedule Castes.

It found that Suresh had produced contradictory caste certificates issued by tehsildars of Kottarakara and Nedumangad.

Suresh, who first entered the Lok Sabha in 1989 from Adoor and subsequently thrice from the same constituency in 1991, 1996 and 1999, was declared elected from Mavelikkara with a margin of 48,046 votes in the 2009 election.

Adoor ceased to be a Lok Sabha constituency after the delimitation.

At that time, Suresh had blamed some sections within his party and opposition parties for filing the case which he saw as a conspiracy.

The Congress leadership, however, stood behind him.

Suresh, who has an LLB degree, again won in 2014, 2019 and the just-concluded 2024 elections.

He has been a member of several Parliamentary committees and has served as the Congress state unit president for Kerala in the past.

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