Congress’ Abdul Mannan to be new leader of opposition in Bengal assembly

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Kolkata, May 30 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan will be the new leader of the opposition in the West Bengal assembly after his election as leader of the Congress legislature party.

Mannan, who won from Champdani assembly constituency in Hooghly district, was elected in a secret ballot by the 44 party legislators on Sunday and the party high command put its seal of approval on the appointment on Monday.

The Congress has emerged as the single largest opposition party in the recent assembly polls after 20 years.

The previous occasion when the Congress had got the leader of the opposition’s post in the state assembly was in 1996. Mannan had then served as the chief whip of the Congress legislature party.

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Present Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was then still a part of the Congress, but formed the Trinamool Congress two years later.

Mannan, a retired teacher, said his party would work unitedly with the Left Front in the assembly to expose the ruling Trinamool.

The Congress and the Left Front had fought the assembly polls together, but finished a poor second. The Left Front, spearheaded by the CPI-M, got only 32 seats.

In the preceding assembly, CPI-M’s Surjya Kanta Mishra had served as leader of the opposition.

“The reason we fought together, it is still there. We wanted to free Bengal from misrule. But that has not happened. So our fight is on. We will fight unitedly in the House and outside,” said Mannan, asked whether the alliance will continue.

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