Adhir, Pradip and Abdul Mannan among front-runners to succeed Somen Mitra as Bengal Congress chief

Another senior party leader said the three front-runners might be asked to share the leadership role.




Following Somen Mitra’s death on Thursday, veteran leaders Pradip Bhattacharya, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and Abdul Mannan have emerged as the front-runners to succeed him as state Congress chief.

While Bhattacharya is a Rajya Sabha MP, Chowdhury is the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, and Mannan is the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly.

According to sources in the party, the lack of promising young leaders in its ranks has made it fall back on the old guard. Some of the party leaders pointed out that Chowdhury already has an important position at the national level, and it may be difficult for him to take charge of the state unit.

“In that case, Abdul Mannan or Pradip Bhattacharya will be the natural choice for the High Command,” said a Congress leader.

With Mitra at the helm, both the Congress and the Left had come together, giving rise to the possibility of a third alternative in the state.

“Mannan and Bhattacharya both are more pro-TMC than pro-Left. So, if the High Command does not again want an electoral alliance with the TMC, then it might set aside these two leaders,” said the senior leader.

Another senior party leader said the three front-runners might be asked to share the leadership role.

“We are going to give two more alternatives. One is, make Adhir Chowdhury the president of the state unit, and appoint two working presidents — one from North Bengal and the other from South Bengal. Adhir da belongs to a hardcore anti-Mamata lobby, and this will give life to the prospect of a Left-Congress alliance in the next Assembly election,” said the leader.

He added, “We are also going to give a proposal, after discussions with senior leaders, that the party select a young and fresh face who will be a prospective leader for the future also.”

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