Mukul Roy has filed his nomination for the post of Public Accounts Committee (PAC), of Bengal assembly, and the secretariat of the assembly has validated it. When such a senior leader of the ruling party has submitted his nomination, it is expected that he will become the chairman of the PAS. No doubt, with his long experience of parliamentary politics, he is a fit person to head the committee. But there is a question of propriety, and it is applicable to all in Bengal.
Mukul Roy won his assembly seat as a BJP candidate and has joined TMC a few weeks after the election. A principled political position demands his resignation from the assembly, his getting re-elected as TMC candidate, and then accepting anything he deserves. But Mukul Roy has not resigned and is not likely to do so. But it is expected from senior ones like him or Sisir Adhikari, the octogenarian MP who campaigned for the BJP in Lok Sabha elections but has not resigned from his Lok Sabha seat he won as a TMC candidate.
Bengal was once respected by the rest of India for its principled politics. But today Bengal is the only state where anti-defection law, contemplated to clean up the rot of ayaram gyaram politics of 1960s and 70s, is non-existent. After Mamata Banerjee came to power in 2011, she started weaning away MLAs from the Left and the Congress, and they all stayed MLAs throughout the term. The BJP snatched away some MLAs from the TMC in the last assembly, and none of them cared to resign.
The trend has become so hazardous that now a slender majority of a ruling party has become dangerous. During her campaign, Didi was asking people to give her 200 seats so that no one can split her party and bring down her government. She is safe at the moment. But there is no guarantee that the BJP will not try to split her party by taking out 80 MLAs. It is easier in Bengal as it is a risk-free affair here, for no one neither resigns from the assembly (as they do in all other states), nor the speaker takes any action against any such person.
Mamata Banerjee would have done better if she followed the principled politics of resisting ayaram-gayaram activities, at least from her third term. After all there is no pride in being an exceptional state that does not abide by anti-defection law.
(The author Diptendra Raychaudhuri is a senior journalist based in Kolkata. He has a wide range of experience in covering West Bengal politics and has authored several books)