Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership is in a fix over deciding the fate of seven party MLAs, who have switched over to the saffron camp recently.
According to TMC sources, the party is yet to take a call on bringing these MLAs under the anti-defection law, as such a step would also force Congress and Left Front MLAs, who had crossed over to the TMC in last few years, lose membership.
Senior TMC leader and State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said steps would be taken as per the norms. But, didnt specify the action that would be initiated.
A special session of the West Bengal state assembly is scheduled to begin from 26 August and will continue till 6 September.
“We really dont know what to do as bringing in anti- defection against our seven MLAs, who have switched over to BJP, means it will also be applicable against 19 other MLAs from Congress and Left Front who have switched over to our party since assembly polls in 2016,” a senior TMC MLA said.
When contacted West Bengal assembly speaker Biman Banerjee too declined to divulge any details, but said steps would be taken as per the laid norms.
The BJP legislative party leader Manoj Tigga said they have no problem if TMC plans to prosecute its seven defecting MLAs under anti-defection law. But TMC too has to follow the suit and ensure the Congress and Left Front MLAs, who had crossed over to it, too have to resign.
“We have no problem, if these MLAs are asked to resign we would ensure that they win in byelections and are back in the assembly. But if they are asked to resign under anti- defection law then 19 Congress and Left Front MLAs who had switched over to TMC too have to resign,” Tigga said.
Leader of the opposition and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said TMC is now being paid back in their own coin.
“As we used to weep over our MLAs and elected representatives being poached by TMC, now they (TMC) too are weeping as they cant stop exodus of their MLAs to BJP. Life has come a full circle. When we used to demand that ant- defection law be implemented against our MLAs who had switched over, the speaker used to turn a blind eye. Now we have to see what action he takes,” Mannan said.
Since the assembly poll results seven TMC MLAs have switched over to the BJP, with former Kolkata Mayor and once a trusted lieutanat of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Sovan Chatterjee being the latest to join the saffron camp.
Buoyed by stupendous performance in the Parliamentary election when it won 18 out of a total 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, only four less than the TMC, BJP leaders have been asserting that their next target was to unseat Baneerjee from the power in the 2021 state polls.