Why Dr Manas Bhunia is giving the Congress a headache in West Bengal

Ahead of the assembly elections in West Bengal when nearly all the state leaders were for pulling for an alliance with the Left Front, Bhunia was the exception who had initially favored a Congress alliance with the TMC

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Published:July 5, 2016 1:35 pm
Manas Bhunia, Congress MLA Manas Bhunia, Manas Bhunia PAC, Manas Bhunia refuses PAC, Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, Mamta Banerjee, latest news, India news, West bengal Rumour has it that the former minister of Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet was all set to defect to the TMC when he decided to wage a war against the state government after the death of Krishna Prasad Jana, a third year BA student of Sajanikanta Mahavidyalaya in West Midnapore district, August last year. (File)

Senior Congress leader and former state Congress president Dr Manas Bhunia has once again put the party in a spot by refusing to give up the post of  chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), saying that he would discuss it with the party high command and that it was the Speaker’s decision in the state assembly.

His flip flops are not entirely without precedent. Rumour has it that the former minister of Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet was all set to defect to the TMC when he decided to wage a war against the state government after the death of Krishna Prasad Jana, a third year BA student of Sajanikanta Mahavidyalaya in West Midnapore district, August last year. He alleged police inaction and went on hunger strike which he abandoned only after Congress president Sonia Gandhi asked him to following concerns about his deteriorating health.

Again, ahead of the assembly elections in West Bengal when nearly all the state leaders were for pulling for an alliance with the Left Front, Bhunia was the exception who had initially favored a Congress alliance with the TMC and later suggested that the party should fight alone. A day after the state Congress leaders met AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi on February 1 this year and convinced him to forge an alliance with the Left, Bhunia met Sonia Gandhi to dissuade her from such a decision.

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When that didn’t work, he said he was a trusted soldier of the Congress and was immediately at the forefront of the alliance.

Now, after the TMC has returned to power with a thumping majority and the Congress had emerged as the main opposition, the party had decided to give away the post of PAC chairman to its electoral ally, and nominated CPI M MLA Sujan Chakraborty as the PAC chairman. But the assembly speaker Biman Banerjee threw a spanner in Congress’s plans by announcing Bhunia’s name as the PAC chairman, saying that it was the post for the main opposition party and Congress, not CPIM was the main opposition.

Bhunia has not refused the post of PAC chairman, in spite of the party’s instructions. No one is now speculating on Dr Bhunia’s next move as he seems to be as unpredictable as the weather.

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