Ahead of the polls for five Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal, the state assembly on Thursday witnessed high drama and tension as, while as many as nine MLAs of the Congress bunked Thursday’s crucial meeting of the Congress Legislature Party, three MLAs of the Left Front too were seen absent at the Legislature meeting of the Left Front at the assembly.
What gave Congress a cause for big worry is that the Trinamool Congress had been able to make inroads into the Ghani Khan Chaudhury family of Malda as Abu Naser Khan, MLA from Sujapur and brother of ABA Ghani Khan Chaudhury, on Thursday declared in the assembly presises that he was going to join the Trinamool Congress on Friday. “I would like to join the movement for development of Bengal that has been initiated by Mamata Banerjee,” Naser Khan said. He is going to be fielded as a candidate in the Lok Sabha elections, according to sources in the TMC.
The other Congress MLA from Gajol in Malda district Sushil Roy too declared on Thursday that he was going to join the ruling party on Friday.
“Such kind of horse-trading never took place in this state. It is a new culture that the Trinamool Congress has introduced in West Bengal. We are shattered. It is very unfortunate,” Manas Bhuina, MLA from Sobong and former Pradesh Congress president, told Indian Express.
The Left Front was no better. Three of their MLAs, Ananta Dev Adhikary from Moynaguri who belongs to RSP, Dasarath Tirkey, also of RSP and former minister of state for public works depatrment in the Left Front Government, who is now an MLA from Kumargram in Jalpaiguri and Sunil Mandal of Forward Bloc who has been elected from Galsi in Burdwan, skipped the LF meeting and remained incommunicado all through the day.
The irony of the matter was that while the RSP has lodged an FIR at Park Street police station alleging that Adhikary had been kidnapped and the CPIM had written to the Election Commission that money was being offered to purchase MLAs, Adhikary was seen outside the office of one of the ministers at the assembly itself.
“Even their family members could not contact them,” Surya Kanta Mishra, leader of the opposition in the state assembly and CPIM Politburo member was saying sitting at his chamber in the asembly as Adhikary was seen loitering around, smiling, just a few yards away.
And all these make the prospect of the Trinamool Congress’s fourth candidate for Rajya Sabha Ahmed Hasan of winning the seat comfortably quite brighter. The TMC was just short of three MLAS to win the fourth seat.
The 294 assembly members are going to vote for five seats in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. While the TMC fielded four candidates–actor Mithun Chakrabarty, painter Jogen Chaudhury, industrialist K. D. Singh and journalist Ahmed Hasan, the Left Front fielded president of the Student Federation of India (SFI), student wing of CPIM, Ritabrata Bandopadhyay.
The Congress has fielded A. S. Mahilabadi, an eminent journalist and now a Rajya Sabha member.