Hours after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took over as West Bengal’s Chief Minister, the BJP on Monday unanimously elected her close-aide-turned-adversary Suvendu Adhikari as Leader of Opposition.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced Adhikari’s name as the leader of the BJP legislature party in the Assembly after a meeting of the legislators at the party’s Hastings Office. The BJP has emerged as the main Opposition party, winning 77 seats in the 294-member house.
Adhikari has been preferred by the saffron party ahead of senior party leaders like Mukul Roy, who also got elected from Nadia constituency, to take on Banerjee in the House. The ruling TMC bagged 213 seats while the Indian Secular Front emerged victorious in one Assembly segment and an Independent R S Lepcha, belonging to the Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) won from Kalimpong. Congress and the Left party drew a blank.
Voting in two Assembly segments will take place in future. Since BJP has the overwhelming numbers in the Opposition camp, Adhikari becomes the leader of opposition in the House, party President Dilip Ghosh said.
While 22 MLAs present at the meeting pledged support to Adhikari, those absent were either on the side of the workers facing TMC attack in the districts while two are down with COVID, Ghosh said when asked about the reason why not all the MLAs were present at the meeting.
“If others oppose the selection that means they are supporting the name proposed. It is not mandatory for every single legislator to pledge support vocally,” Adhikari, who was present, said.
Senior leader Mukul Roy said, “Suvendu will lead BJP to greater heights in the House and fight the misdeeds of the ruling party in the state.”
Adhikari said “I have been an MLA since 2006. I have seen the arrogance of the then CPI(M)-led regime. We have to constructively perform the role of Opposition in the Assembly adhering to parliamentary norms.”
He said the BJP will continue to take up the issue of Trinamool Congress attack on political rivals, the terror unleashed by the TMC and fight for democratic right of every citizen.
Adhikari won the elections from Nandigram Assembly seat, defeating Banerjee by a narrow margin of over 1,900 votes.
Palaniswami pips OPS again
In Tamil Nadu, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader K Palaniswami was on Monday unanimously elected leader of the legislature party after a three-hour meet here and he is all set to become the Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
The meeting of the newly-elected MLAs to elect the legislature party leader, the second within three days, reportedly saw exchanges on who should lead the party in the House with one section pitching for Palaniswami and the other for coordinator O Panneerselvam.
Palaniswami was the chief minister for four years between 2017 and 2021 while Panneerselvam assumed office as deputy chief minister in 2017 after the factions led by the two leaders merged.
With inputs from Agencies