IN A bid to check horse-trading by the ruling Trinamool Congress, the Congress and CPM are mulling legal action against two of their MLAs — Dipali Biswas (CPM) and Tushar Kanti Bhattacharya (Congress) — who had officially joined the Trinamool Congress during the party’s Martyrs’ Day celebrations on July 21.
The Opposition leaders said they were consulting legal experts on how to cancel the memberships of the two MLAs, as well as conduct a repoll at their constituencies. Biswas is the MLA from Gajole in Malda while Bhattacharya is from Bishnupur in Bankura district.
Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan and CPM MLA Sujan Chakraborty admitted that the parties were mulling the prospect of taking legal action against the two MLAs. “Yes, we are considering the legalities. We will arrive at a final decision in 2-3 days,” Chakraborty said.
Both Chakraborty and Mannan met former Lok Sabha speaker and veteran Left leader Somnath Chatterjee on Monday, and reportedly had a long discussion on the issue. Chakraborty, however, said that it was a courtesy visit on the occasion of Chatterjee’s birthday. “Of course there was a discussion but it was nothing serious. Since we visited him on his birthday, we got into an informal discussion with Chatterjee since he has a lot of experience about these kinds of issues,” he said.
Mannan said they were also consulting other experts in the matter. “Besides him (Chatterjee), we are also in touch with senior lawyers such as Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya and Arunava Ghosh. We are weighing our options before we proceed for a legal battle,” Mannan said.
Talking to The Indian Express, Chatterjee admitted to having a ‘friendly discussion’ with Mannan and Chakraborty on the issue. “Yes we had a discussion. There is a legal provision that needs to be explored. It says that an elected member of a political party cannot join another rival party as long as he is not expelled from his previous party. Chances are that such MLAs may lose their membership in the Assembly,” he said.
A senior CPM leader said that unless these defection cases were strictly dealt with, the TMC would continue with their horse-trading, and lure MLAs from other parties to join them.
“We will fight tooth and nail to see that Biswas has to vacate her seat and contest another election to get re-elected to the Assembly. The Congress leadership, too, are on the same page,” he said.