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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Bengal Assembly Session From July 2: Mukul Roy makes it to PAC despite BJP’s protest, all eyes on chief post

The TMC had nominated 13 MLAs for the 20-member PAC, but in the last moment, Mukul Roy submitted his name. His name was proposed by Ruden Lepcha, Kalimpong MLA and a leader of the Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

Written by Atri Mitra | Kolkata |
June 26, 2021 6:15:14 am
Mukul Roy

With Mukul Roy, who recently quit BJP to join the ruling TMC, becoming the member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of West Bengal Assembly despite strong opposition from the BJP, the Budget session – set to begin from July 2 — will see fireworks between the treasury and the opposition benches.

The TMC had nominated 13 MLAs for the 20-member PAC, but in the last moment, Mukul Roy submitted his name. His name was proposed by Ruden Lepcha, Kalimpong MLA and a leader of the Binay Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM).

Roy, officially a BJP MLA from Krishnanagar Uttar, switched over to the TMC last week but did not resign from the Assembly.

The BJP, on the other hand, had nominated six members – noted economist Ashok Lahiri, Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, Bankim Ghosh, Ambika Roy, Vivekananda Baury, Nikhil Ranjan Dey and Tarun Maiti. The party also lodged a strong protest against Roy’s nomination.

Roy, officially a BJP MLA from Krishnanagar Uttar, switched over to the TMC last week but did not resign from the Assembly.

The BJP submitted a petition to Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee, demanding disqualification of Roy under the anti-defection law since he did not resign from the party before switching sides.

Referring to Rule No. 302 of the rules of procedure and conduct of business in the West Bengal Assembly, the BJP letter said, “Our objection is on the acceptance of the nomination form of Mukul Roy during the scrutiny process. The above-mentioned Rule 302 clearly says that 20 members of the Public Accounts Committee shall be elected from among its members on the principle of proportional representation.”

A day ago, TMC president and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee publicly backed Roy’s nomination, saying that while Roy “is a member of the BJP”, any one can file nomination for PAC membership and it is the Speaker who has the authority to take the final call. “Where is the problem? He has got the support of Binay Tamang’s party and we will also support him. It will be the decision of the Speaker… If there is voting, we will win,” Banerjee said on Thursday.

On Friday, Speaker Biman Banerjee released the list of the 20 members of the PAC. With no extra nomination being filed, the 20 members, including Mukul Roy, were declared elected unopposed.

The 294-member West Bengal assembly has 41 committees and the PAC, which works as the audit watchdog of the House, is considered the most important one.

Speculation is rife that Roy may be appointed PAC chairman. Sources in the BJP said their legislators will resign from all the 41 assembly committees in the event of Roy becoming PAC chief, thereby creating a possible constitutional crisis.

However, the ruling TMC is undeterred. “In the time of election campaign, Suvendu Adhikari attacked us by making baseless allegations against us. We have not forgotten them, and will give a befitting reply to him in the Assembly,” a senior TMC leader said.

By convention, a member of an Opposition party is made the PAC chairman by the Speaker. However, if Roy were to get the post, he would be the first member of a ruling party to be made the chairman.

However, the TMC’s argument is that Roy is still a member of the Opposition in the House.

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