Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of opposition in West Bengal assembly, on Friday said that he will go to court to seek the disqualification of Mukul Roy as BJP MLA under the anti-defection law.
Mr Adhikari met the assembly Speaker, Biman Bandopadhyay, this afternoon for the first hearing of his petition, filed mid-June, seeking action against Mukul Roy who fought the state elections on a BJP ticket, won and then joined the Trinamool on June 11 in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“Given our past experience, the anti-defection law is never implemented in this assembly. Someone was elected on a BJP ticket and the Trinamool has made him a PAC chairman. So, we have made up our minds to take the matter to court. On the basis of documents, the anti-defection law implemented in the whole country should also be implemented here. We want the matter to be heard quickly and decided as well,” he said.
The speaker has set July 30 for the next hearing. The BJP may go to court before that date.
Mr Roy was recently appointed chairman of the public accounts committee (PAC), a position traditionally held by an opposition MLA.
The Speaker made the appointment ignoring six names submitted for the position by the BJP, the party claimed. Mr Roy’s name was proposed by the lone Gorkha Janmukti Morcha MLA in the Assembly and seconded by a Trinamool MLA.
Asked about the issue, the Chief Minister had then said, “What is the problem? Mukul Roy is a BJP MLA”.
The BJP claims in the last ten years there have been several cases when opposition MLAs of the Congress or Left defected to Trinamool Congress but did not join the party formally. No action was taken against them under the anti-defection law.
In 2016, one such Congress MLA, Manas Bhuiyan, was appointed the PAC chairman when the Left-Congress combine had named CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty for the post. Congress had urged Mr Bhuiyan to step down and not fall prey to Trinamool strategy, but he stuck to his guns.
The Trinamool Congress has responded to the BJP attacks on Mukul Roy’s appointment, saying the decision is is entirely the prerogative of the speaker.
Mr Adhikari, however, said the BJP had not nominated Mukul Roy but noted economist Ashok Lahiri, who used to be the economic advisor to the PMO, for the post.
“Instead of appointing a PhD in economics as PSC chairman they have chosen to appoint a higher secondary pass Mr Adhikari said.
Mr Mukul Roy refused to comment on the issue.