(Eds: Adds inputs) Kolkata, Jul 31 (PTI) The death of West Bengal Congress president Somen Mitra has left a deep leadership void in the party in decline, as it seeks a successor to the veteran who could revive the party ahead of the assembly elections due next year.
Mitra, who headed the state Congress thrice, died in a Kolkata hospital on Thursday.
According to party sources, the lack of young leaders with promise in its ranks has presented a situation where the Congress will have to depend on the old guard.
The three leaders in the reckoning for the post are Rajya Sabha MP Pradip Bhattacharya, Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and Abdul Mannan, the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly. Both Bhattacharya and Chowdhury have served as state Congress president.
'It is unlikely that Adhir Chowdhury will take charge as the state unit chief as he already holds a very important position in the Lok Sabha. Abdul Mannan and Pradip Bhattacharya are the two possible options with the Rajya Sabha MP having an edge as he has served as the PCC chief in the past. Let's see what happens,' a senior Congress leader told PTI.
AICC West Bengal in-charge Gaurav Gogoi, who arrived here on Thursday night, is likely to hold a meeting with the state leaders on the matter.
'The Bengal unit of the party never had any dearth of good leaders in the past. However, there is no such promising young leader in the organisation who could helm the state unit no,' the Congress leader said, insisting that his identity not be disclosed.
Most Congress leaders known for their organisational or oratorical skills have switched over to the TMC in the last two decades, leaving a leadership vacuum in the state, he said.
Under Mitra, the Congress in West Bengal aligned with the CPI(M)-led Left Front to take on the ruling TMC and a resurgent BJP.
Mitra's loss came at a time when the party was trying to forge a third alternative in the state against the TMC and the BJP. PTI PNT RMS SK SK