To Ease Tension On Defection, Mukul Roy May Be Sent To Rajya Sabha

For the last ten years, anti-defection law was redundant in Bengal as the MLAs changed side but did not care to resign from the assembly. Following the trend, this time Mukul Roy left the BJP just a few weeks after the election, and the speaker of the assembly appointed him as the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, a post that generally goes to the opposition. TMC leaders defended the stand claiming Mukul Roy was still a BJP MLA!

But now suddenly the TMC is considering Roy as its candidate for the Rajya Sabha. One seat has fallen vacant as Dinesh Trivedi had resigned from the TMC and also his RS seat. The ruling party is sure to win the seat with its near three-fourth majority in the house. However, the final call will be taken by Mamata Banerjee, the TMC supremo.

Earlier it was almost decided that Yashwant Sinha, the politician from Jharkhand who has left the BJP and joined the TMC, would be nominated from the seat. TMC is still an only Bengal party, and by sending Sinha, it can give a signal that it is growing in stature, if not in size. But Sinha has only ornamental value for the TMC and no real worth on the ground.

But Mukul Roy is an asset to the party. TMC’s top leadership is worried that he may not enjoy the impunity earlier dal-badlus had enjoyed. The BJP is vociferous from the beginning that it will not tolerate any of its MLAs crossing over to the ruling party without resigning from the assembly. They feel the BJP will leave no stone unturned to dislodge Roy from the assembly.

After Mukul Roy was made chairman of the PAC, both Dilip Ghosh, the state BJP president, and Suvendu Adhikary, the opposition leader, have made it clear that they would move the High Court to re-establish anti-defection law in Bengal. Though the law has not stipulated any time frame for the speaker to decide on a case of anti-defection, the TMC top leadership feels it will not be possible for the speaker to sit tight on Roy’s case for the next four years and nine months.

The BJP too has two TMC MPs who supported the party during the assembly election without resigning from the Lok Sabha. One of them is veteran Sisir Adhikari, father of Suvendu Adhikari, and the other is Sunil Mondol. The TMC has sent letters to the speaker of the Lok Sabha for their dismissal, and recently the secretariat of the Lok Sabha has sent letters to them seeking clarification.

Under the circumstances, if the TMC nominates Mukul Roy for the RS, it will create a healthy instance. After all, anti-defection law needs to be respected, for it is essential for a healthy democratic practice.

(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)

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