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CM Mamta Banejee meets her match; Suvendu Adhikari becomes the Leader Of Opposition in West-Bengal Vidhan Sabha

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R. Madhav Bera
R. Madhav Bera
An Advocate practising in Supreme Court , High Court & various District Courts & Tribunals etc. at Delhi.

After the swearing in ceremony of Mamta Banerjee as Chief Minister Of West Bengal, as many as 43 MLAs have taken oath as Ministers in CM Mamta Banerjee’s cabinet on 10th May 2021. Subsequently, in the afternoon, BJP Party has appointed Mr. Suvendu Adhikari as “Leader of Opposition” in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.[i]  It is pertinent to note that with 77 seats, BJP emerges as a second largest party in the West Bengal & would play a role of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.[ii] That role of opposition is very crucial in State Legislative Assemblies as well as in Parliament as it is responsible for keeping checks & balances in the decision making of the ruling government. Further, it is the duty & responsibility of the opposition to fix the mistakes of the ruling government. Moreover, role of the opposition is very crucial for upholding the interests of the general public.[iii]

Since, past few days there have been strong speculations in the media houses regarding the selection of “Leader of Opposition” in the State Legislative Assembly. Some of the media report suggested that that National Vice-President Mr. Mukul Roy, Nandigram Winner Mr. Suvendu Adhikari & two times MLA Mr. Manoj Tigga might become Leader of Opposition” in the Legislative Assembly.[iv]  That on 8th May, BJP Party’s parliamentary board had nominated Union Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad & National General Secretary Mr. Bhupendra Yadav as “Central Observer” for the election of the Leader of MLAs in the West Bengal’s Vidhan Sabha & finally Mr. Suvendu Adhikari who defeated CM Mamta Banerjee in Nandigram, is appointed as a “Leader Of Opposition” in the assembly. Interestingly, National Vice-President Mr. Mukul Roy who was also believed to be in the league to become the Opposition Leader, has himself voted in favour of Mr. Adhikari for the said post.

 Leader Of Opposition; Crucial Aspects For BJP Party

Surely, the assembly results give a nod to the top party cadre of BJP to check their political analysis & review political strategies more particularly in the state like West Bengal. That it had been seen that from Prime Minister Narender Modi to Amit Shah all top national leaders had worked tirelessly to achieve the milestone in West Bengal. That winning 18 seats in Lok Sabha Election 2019 might be one of the reasons which may build up such expectations or anticipations that party would come to power in Bengal. But, the assembly results surely once again reiterated old political customary theory that parameters of “Vidhan Sabha elections are quite different from Lok Sabha Elections”.

It cannot be denied that the popularity of Prime Minister Modi is immense throughout India as well as in West Bengal State, but, this election might give a lesson to the top party strategists that only with the Prime Minister’s face or popularity, the party may not win a state like West Bengal. There is an anticipation that after the loss, BJP will try to strengthen the political base in Bengal. There might be shuffling in the existing party structure in the state & state leaders may be urged to expand their influences & presences at every level or corners in order to gain faith & support of the masses. As such,  it was believed that the Party would likely choose a candidate as “Opposition Leader” who has experience in Bengal Politics as well as having strong hold in the local & state  level politics & also popular among the masses.

Previous Opposition Leaders In The West Bengal Legislative Assembly (2011-2021)

 That in the year 2011 when the first time TMC came to the year in West Bengal, CPI(M) leader Sh. Surya Kanta Mishra was appointed as a “Leader Of Opposition” in the State Legislative Assembly.[v]The tenure of Mr. Mishra as an “Opposition leader” did not prove to be a significant one for the Left Front & hardly there was any remarkable achievement which deserved to be praised upon. Further, in the Panchayat Elections 2013, the Left Party performed very poorly & even the party failed to field their candidates in almost 14 % constituencies. Later, in the 2016 Assembly Election, the position of the Left Front allies further deteriorated in the state. Mr. Mishra himself fought the election from Narayangarh Vidhan Sabha Seat & lost the election in 2016. Although, it would not be rightful to shift all the buckets on his shoulder for such deterioration of the Left Front party as responsibilities were equally upon the senior leaders.

In the year 2016, Congress Leader Mr. Abdul Mannan was appointed as a “Leader Of Opposition” in the State Legislative Assembly.[vi] That Mr. Mannan’s tenure as Opposition leader was also not very commendable. Mr. Mannan has lost the current state legislative election & his party also failed to win a seat in the election.

Why Suvendu Adhikari’s Appointment As Opposition’s Leader Is/Was Important For BJP?

As per the media sources,  after defeating CM Mamta Banerjee, Mr. Adhikari was one of the front liners in the race for becoming the “Leader Of Opposition”. A heavy weight leader who is active in politics over more than the past 2 decades. The influence of Mr. Adhikari in West Bengal’s Politics more particularly over Purba & Paschim Midnapore region is nothing new to be talked about. It is pertinent to mention the day when Mr. Adhikari resigned from the TMC Party, many crucial local workers & leaders of TMC also left the Party. The influence & popularity of Mr. Adhikari can be measured from the fact that many local leaders used to introduce themselves as “Amra Dadar Anugami” means we are the follower of Dada (Suvendu Adhikari) in the party’s posters & hoarding, when he was in TMC party.[vii]  

Being a grass root leader, he has all the requisites skills of a leader which makes him most desirable candidate for the position. In pre-election campaigns, he was a “Star Campaigner” for the BJP & with his great oratory skills he marked a special significance in the eyes of top ranked leaders. Further, Panchayat & civic body elections will be held in the state & these elections play a significant role to expand the party to the base level or can say booth level. That leaders or workers who are working at the panchayat level are more close to the masses & have direct contacts with the people which helps a party to cater to the needs of the public. Mr. Suvendu Adhikari being a grass-roots leader also has a great organizational which can be beneficial for the party to strengthen the base in the state of West Bengal.

It is very crucial to mention that the clout of Mr. Suvendhu Adhikari & his family will surely be effected as he left the ruling party. His political rivals may also try to take advantage of this situation & may try to take revenge. Further, he was the one who directly faced-off TMC Supremo Mamta Banerjee & his nephew Sh. Abhishek Banerjee (MP) during pre-elections campaigns & also defeated her in the election which is creating restlessness among the TMC party workers & leaders. That after winning the election his car was attacked by the TMC workers in Nandigram & he had to rushed from the counting center without taking wining certificate.[viii] The aforesaid facts suggests that he likely to be faced much more heats from the TMC leaders & workers in future. Furthermore, as per the news reports, after his resignation from TMC, his father Mr. Shisir Adhikari (MP) was removed from the chairmanship of Digha Shankarapur Development Authority[ix] & also from the post of District President, East Midnapore[x].

Further, his brother Mr. Soumendu Adhikari was removed from the post of Contai Municipality[xi] & his another brother Mr. Dibyendu Adhikari (MP) had resigned from the all administrative posts held by him in TMC Govt.[xii] As such, the Leader of Opposition status will surely encourage him to achieve more counts for the party in West Bengal & it would also be a reward for his bravery which he has shown by fighting & winning election against CM Mamta Banerjee from Nandigram. A BJP Leader once said to media that “Leader of Opposition enjoys a ministerial post & special LOP status might protect Suvendu from “unnecessary harassments”.[xiii]  

No doubt, playing a role of Opposition’s Leader is not going to be easy for anyone in the party as lots of ice-bergs or fire balls will come into the way. But, it will not be a new thing for Mr. Adhikari because the heavyweight leader has already faced such types of heats or pressures during the Left Front’s reign in West Bengal. It is pertinent to note that in the 2006 election Suvendu Adhkari was one of the few candidates who managed to win an assembly seat. In 2006, the TMC Party only managed to win 30 seats in the assembly election. Further, he is the one who had defeated CPI (M) strongman Mr. Lakshman Seth in the Lok Sabha Election, 2019.  Furthermore, he hasn’t lost a single election since 2006. Therefore, Winner’s title in the “Battle Of Nandigram” is not an only achievement which certifies his political leadership credibility.  

Mr. Suvendu Adhikari is definitely a wise choice for BJP or we may say it is the best choice, if one sums up all the crucial factors. Further, his selection would definitely boost the confidence of the workers & leaders who feuded with TMC Party & later joined BJP. It would also give a message to these workers that the party is not adopting any discriminatory policy between old party workers or leaders & newly introduced members.

Certainly, after the appointment of Mr. Adhikari, much face-offs can be expected with CM Mamta Banejee in the assembly. It will be interesting to see how they confront or compliment each other in the assembly.













[xiii] Ibid, 5.

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R. Madhav Bera
R. Madhav Bera
An Advocate practising in Supreme Court , High Court & various District Courts & Tribunals etc. at Delhi.
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