Congress MLA from Sabang, West Midnapore district may have defected to the Trinamool Congress and may have even been handed over the party flag at the TMC headquarters in Kolkata on September 19, but, officially, he continues to remain a member and an MLA of Congress.
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Asked by The Indian Express if he had officially joined the TMC or if he had resigned from the Congress party, Dr Bhunia, perhaps taken aback by the question, said he was not bound to answer it and restricted his response saying that he had come under the umbrella of the TMC which he thought was the ‘Real Congress’.
Legal experts are of the opinion that no one can be a member of two political parties at the same time and if Dr Bhunia had officially became a member of the TMC, he would stand to lose his membership of the state Assembly, according to the anti-defection law. TMC party sources confirmed that Dr Bhunia had not signed along the dotted line and was waiting for the Congress to expel him from the party before he formally signs an agreement with the TMC.
On the other hand, Congress leaders have refused to budge. They have not only refused to disown Dr Bhunia at the moment but the leader of opposition would also continue to serve him the party whip along with other party MLAs as he is technically a Congress MLA.
Feigning ignorance about his defection, leader of opposition Abdul Mannan had sent Dr Bhunia a letter on Tuesday asking for an explanation of news articles that reported he had joined the TMC. The letter also said that if he failed to explain his stand within a week the party would be forced to take legal action against him.
Dr Bhunia, at the press conference where he ‘joined TMC’ had said that Bidhan Bhavan, the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters, had turned into a ‘haunted house’. With the Congress refusing to let Dr Bhunia go, at least for now, his next move is anyone’s guess.