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In a first since 1952, Assembly to have no Cong & Left MLAs

KOLKATA: With Mamata Banerjee swearing-in as the Chief Minister of Bengal for the third consecutive time on Monday, a new era dawns in the political history of Bengal in which there will be no MLA from the Congress and the Left.

This is for the first time since the first election was held in 1952, the two all-India parties, namely the Congress and CPI(M) will not have representatives in the Assembly. TMC has 213 MLAs followed by the BJP with 77 MLAs and others with one in the state Legislative Assembly. In 1952 when the first election was held after Independence, Congress had 150 seats and the Communist Party of India had 28 seats. Bharatiya Janasangh had 9 seats while Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha had 4 seats.

In 1957 when the Assembly election was held for the second time in Bengal, Congress had 152 seats and the Communist party of India had 25 seats. Bharatiya Jana Sangh could not open its account though it had fielded candidates on 33 seats. BJP got its first MLA in 2000 after a gap of 43 years when Badal Bhattacharya won the by-election from Ashoknagar. Later, Shamik Bhattacharya became an MLA in 2014 after winning a by-election from Basirhat seat. The Assembly will miss two veteran Congress and CPI(M) leaders, Abdul Mannan, former leader of Opposition and Ashok Bhattacharya, former Urban Development minister and MLA from Siliguri. Mannan got less than 11 per cent vote from Champdani Assembly seat and lost his deposit. The other Congress leaders, who have lost their deposits include Asit Mitra, Shankar Malakar, Sukhbilas Barma and Debaprasad Roy.

Of the 170 Left Front candidates, only 21 could save their deposits. The Young brigade nominated by the CPI(M) which included Aishe Ghosh, Sabuj Das, Debjyoti Das and Saptarshi Deb lost their deposits. Minakshi Mukherjee, CPI(M) nominee from Nandigram whom Alimuddin Street had projected as an important candidate got less than 3 per cent votes and lost her deposit. Nine out of 32 candidates of ISF lost their deposits. Political experts said it was to be seen whom BJP would nominate as the Leader of Opposition. Mukul Roy, BJP national vice-president, has refused the offer. The next is Suvendu Adhikari. Also, the party needs an Opposition chief whip. "It is to be seen whether the BJP MLAs will allow the state government to run the Assembly smoothly or stall the debate," political experts said.

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