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BJP will play role of constructive Opposition in Bengal: Newly-elected MLA Ashok Lahiri

Lahiri, a former chief economic advisor to the Centre, was among the well-known professionals fielded by the BJP.

Published: 04th May 2021 02:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2021 02:34 PM   |  A+A-

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By PTI

KOLKATA: The BJP will play the role of a constructive opposition in West Bengal, said former Finance Commission member Ashok Lahiri, a newly-elected MLA of the party.

Lahiri, a former chief economic advisor to the Centre, was among the well-known professionals fielded by the BJP.

While the others in that list, including columnist Swapan Dasgupta, former deputy Army chief Subrata Saha and strategic analyst Anirban Ganguly, lost their maiden electoral foray, Lahiri who was tipped to be Bengal's finance minister in case the BJP formed a government in the state bested TMC's Shekhar Dasgupta by nearly 14,000 votes from Balurghat.

"I have won my battle, but we have lost the larger 'war'. This means we will be sitting in the opposition benches, but I can assure you that we will work as a constructive opposition," Lahiri told PTI.

The economist, who has worked with governments led by both Atal Behari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, said, "Sitting in the opposition, one is obviously constrained by many factors."

However, he hoped that the voice of the opposition will be heard, especially when they make constructive suggestions for the betterment of the state.

Lahiri, an alumnus of Presidency College and Delhi School of Economics, had earlier said that he joined politics to "come back and work" for his home state and promised to focus on Bengal's education, health and infrastructure.

The economist said, "We targeted 200 seats, but our party's performance is still creditable -- we have taken a huge leap, increased our tally from just three."

The BJP won 77 seats in the just-concluded elections, against the TMC's 213.

"I, personally, will work for my state and for Balurghat," he said.

"We will look at the micro-picture here and work to help out people in their lives," he added.

Lahiri was first fielded from Alipurduar but protests against his nomination forced the BJP to relocate him to Balurghat, with which his family has historic ties.

Violent protests were staged by party workers in Alipurduar, which many in the state BJP believed was due to the central leadership's strategy of parachuting leaders from Delhi to safer seats.

Lahiri, who was the chairman of Bandhan Bank and executive director of ADB, besides stints with the World Bank and IMF, had a smooth run in connecting with BJP workers in Balurghat.

Managing to cash in on his image of a soft-spoken, learned bhadralok, Lahiri won comfortably from this strategic border town after leading in almost all rounds.



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