GOING AGAINST the directive of Bengal Congress, party MLA Manas Bhunia on Tuesday stuck to his stand of not stepping down from the post of chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the state Assembly.
In a text message to state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury, Bhunia allegedly accused Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan of nominating CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty as the PAC president without consulting the Congress Legislative Party (CLP). He reportedly also questioned the basis on which Chakraborty was nominated.
This comes on a day when the state unit informed the Congress high command of Bhunia’s “anti-party” activity and urged him to resign from the post. “We have informed AICC about the turn of events and the kind of anti-party activity that Manas Bhunia has indulged in. We have urged Bhunia to immediately tender his resignation from the post of PAC chairman,” a senior Congress leader said.
Bhunia was on Monday appointed PAC chairman amid opposition by his own party, which wanted to offer the post to CPM leader Sujan Chakrabarty. His name was announced as the PAC chairman by Speaker Biman Banerjee, following which, Congress and Left Front walked out of the House in protest. The Speaker later told reporters he had followed the convention by offering the post to the main Opposition.
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Sources said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had left it to the state leadership to decide on the matter. “There will be no quick solution to the problem. A meeting of the CLP has been convened on July 9 to end the logjam,” said Chowdhury.
It was learnt that Chowdhury and Bhunia had exchanged text messages over the matter since Tuesday morning. Chowdhury reportedly tried to dissuade Bhunia from accepting the PAC chairman’s post on the pretext that it would hamper his credibility and urged him to sacrifice it (the post) for at least a year.
In reply, Bhunia reportedly vent his grievances against Mannan. In his message, Bhunia claimed Mannan had nominated Sujan Chakraborty without consulting the CLP. Questioning the basis on which Chakraborty was nominated, Bhunia claimed that being a six-time MLA, he should either have been nominated as the chairman or not included in the PAC committee at all.
Mannan, refusing to comment, said: “The party high command will take the right decision at the right time.”
Meanwhile, Trinamool MLA from Baranagar, Tapas Roy, submitted a privilege notice against Mannan on Tuesday in the Assembly, alleging that the leader of Opposition had described the Speaker’s decision to appoint Bhunia as the PAC chairman, as a conspiracy, which amounted to a gross disrespect to the House.
Mannan claimed he was not bothered by such notices. “I welcome the privilege notice. I have seen several such notices in the past. These fail to scare me. I am not going to stop in my fight against the misrule of the current disposition,” he claimed.