Kolkata: Signalling a possible end to the
`us and them` syndrome where the former ruling Left Front and
the Opposition were not on speaking terms, West Bengal Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday urged the new Assembly Speaker
to give opportunity and importance to the Opposition.
Banerjee, for whom it was the first day in the House,
told 63-year-old Biman Bandopadhyay, who was elected unopposed
as the Speaker, that he should give opportunity and importance
to the Opposition members.
She also scored another point against her predecessor
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who had once asserted that the Left
Front had a brute majority of 235 members while the opposition
was a miniscule minority of 35, saying she strongly favoured
democracy and not `partycracy`.
Banerjee`s gesture was welcomed by the entire House,
particularly the Left Front which is sitting on the Opposition
benches for the first time after remaining in power for
an uninterrupted 34 years.
Congratulating Bandopadhyay on his election, the CM
extended her government`s full cooperation to him in the
smooth conduct of the House.
She requested Bandopadhyay to verse the new MLAs in
rules and regulations and legislative procedures.
In another political gesture, Banerjee did not forget
to mention CPI(M) member Mustafa Bin Quasem, who allegedly
committed suicide by jumping off the fourth floor of the MLA
Hostel yesterday, in her short speech.
She said her heart was heavy as `Quasembhai` was not
present in the new House. The Chief Minister conveyed her
sympathy to his bereaved family and the CPI(M).
Before leaving the House, she went over to the
Opposition bench and spoke to CPI(M)`s Anisur Rehman and
Probodh Chandra Sinha (DSP), both former ministers.
Leader of the Opposition Suryakanta Mishra (CPI-M)
congratulated the new Speaker and expressed happiness that the
Banerjee had called for giving more importance to the
He said that it was always believed during the Left
Front regime that the House belonged to the Opposition.
Mishra assured the Opposition`s cooperation to the new