Kolkata, May 27: For the first time in 34 years, the Left Front today elected Suryakanta Mishra as the Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly.
Announcing Mishra's name at a press conference here, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said “our MLAs will have to learn to play the role of the Opposition.” Mishra, a CPI(M) MLA from Narayangarh in West Midnapore district since 1991, was health minister in the last Left Front government, and held the panchayati raj portfolio till the Front's poor show in panchayat elections in 2008.
Subhas Naskar, RSP MLA from Basanti in South 24 Parganas district, was elected deputy Leader of Opposition. Opposition whip will be Bishwanath Karak, Forward Bloc MLA from the Goghat Assembly constituency in Hooghly district.
Bose said that the Left Front has decided not to put up any candidate for the Speaker's election. The Left Front MLAs met following a Front meeting to approve the names, Bose said.
Several top rung ministers, including former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, former housing minister Goutam Deb and former Urban Development minister Ashok Bhattacharya, who were senior CPI(M) leaders, lost the Assembly elections.
Out of the 62 MLAs of the Front in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly, 31 are fresh faces, Bose said. PTI