Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: Former Minister and Congress legislator from Narla Assembly constituency in Kalahandi district Bhupinder Singh was elected Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly on Sunday evening.

Mr. Singh was elected to the crucial post at a meting of the newly-elected legislators of the party.

Mr. Singh, who represented the Kesinga Assembly three times in the past, was elected from Narla seat in the recent polls.

The name of Mr. Singh was proposed for the Opposition Leader post by senior legislator from Kotpad Basudev Majhi. The proposal was supported by Bissam Cuttack legislator Dambarudhar Ulaka.

In fact, Mr. Majhi and Mr. Ulaka were also in the race for the post when lobbying had started to elect one of the legislators as Opposition Leader.

Among others who attended the meeting of the newly-elected legislators of the party were All-India Congress Committee’s Orissa in-charge and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Pradesh Congress Committee president K.P. Singh Deo.

Tribal leader and legislator from Mohana Assembly seat in Gajapati district Chakradhar Paik was elected Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislature Party.

Former Minister and legislator from Satyabadi constituency Prasad Harichandan was elected as Opposition Chief Whip.

Mr. Harichandan’s name had also been considered for the post of Leader of Opposition. However, several party leaders from coastal Orissa opposed to the idea, according to sources in the party.

The Congress is the main opposition party in the new Assembly with just 27 legislators. The party had 38 legislators in the previous Assembly.

Former Chief Minister J.B. Patnaik was the Opposition Leader in the previous Assembly. However, senior tribal leader Rama Chandra Ulaka had replaced him a few weeks before the Assembly elections.