Updated: May 11, 2021 2:33:30 am
The BJP on Monday unanimously chose the party’s Nandigram MLA and former state minister Suvendu Adhikari as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the new West Bengal Assembly.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced Adhikari’s name as the leader of BJP Legislature Party after a meeting of party MLAs at the BJP election office in the city’s Hastings area. Prasad was one of the party’s observers for the election along with senior leader Bhupendra Yadav.
Prasad and party national vice-president and MLA Mukul Roy, who was considered one of the frontrunners to head the BJP legislature party, proposed Adhikari’s name for the post and was seconded by 22 MLAs. Since BJP is the largest Opposition party with 77 seats, the Nandigram MLA automatically became the Leader of the Opposition.
With one seat, the Indian Secular Front (ISF) is the other Opposition party in the Assembly. Independent MLA RS Lepcha, belonging to the Binay Tamang faction of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), will represent Kalimpong.
At the BJP meeting, Adhikari’s predecessor Manoj Tigga was chosen as the party’s chief whip in the Assembly. The new appointments came on a day 43 TMC MLAs were sworn-in as ministers in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s government.
“In this Assembly polls, we have to see three things. One is a chief ministerial candidate who lost the election has been sworn in as chief minister — this happened for the first time in Bengal. Second, for the first time, there will be no representatives from the Congress and Left Front in the House; and third, for the first time 77 BJP MLAs will be in the Assembly.
“I will try to fulfil my duty and responsibility as the Leader of the Opposition,” Adhikari said after his election. The BJP leader, who joined the party last December, defeated Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram by 1,956 votes. “I will work to fulfil the expectations of the people of Bengal. I will help the state government for its positive efforts but also raise my voice against violence going on,” he said.
Adhikari said, “My first duty will be to make the state violence-free. Several BJP workers are being killed and over 1 lakh cadres had to take shelter in Assam. This should stop,” he added.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “We are for serving the people and we will fight for them to every extent. If needed, we will agitate outside the Assembly,” he added.
— with pti inputs
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