BHUBANESWAR: Senior Congress leader and former Law minister Narasingh Mishra was unanimously elected as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) here on Wednesday. Announcing the name of the CLP leader at Congress Bhavan nearly four hours after the formal CLP meeting, AICC observer and former Union minister Ajay Maken said Mishra’s name was proposed by Jagatsinghpur MLA Chiranjib Biswal and seconded by Dabugaon MLA Bhujabal Majhi and Krushna Chandra Sagaria.
“I am happy to announce that Narasingh Mishra has been unanimously elected as the CLP leader,” Maken said, adding that the MLA from Balangir will lead the Congress’s fight in the Assembly.
Maken and AICC general secretary in-charge of Odisha B K Hariprasad reached here on Wednesday to elect the CLP leader. A meeting of the CLP took place at the State Assembly.
Earlier, the 16 newly-elected Congress MLAs met and passed a one-line resolution authorising Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take a decision on the new CLP leader.
“However, the party president suggested us to unanimously decide a name after consulting the MLAs,” Maken said.
Both Maken and Hariprasad held one-to-one discussion with each party MLA to know their choice for the CLP leader. As majority of the Congress legislators were in favour of Mishra, the two central observers informed the party high command about the choice of the newly elected lawmakers.
Maken said Pradesh Congress president Jayadev Jena will intimate the secretary of the Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) about the decision of the CLP.
Mishra was first elected to the 10th Assembly from Loisingha segment in 1990 on a Janata Dal ticket. He was also a member of the 11th and 13th Assembly.
He was the Law minister of Odisha from 1990 to 1995 in Biju Patnaik’s government.
Mishra is likely to be announced as the Leader of Opposition by Speaker Niranjan Pujari on Thursday, the first day of the first session of the 15th Assembly.
The Congress is the main Opposition party in the Assembly with 16 members followed by 10 members of the BJP, one member each of the CPM and the Samata Kranti Dal. While Independents have won in two seats, the ruling BJD bagged 117 seats in the 147-member Assembly.