AS CONGRESS MLAs staged a walk out from the Assembly in protest against the Mamata government’s move to change the state’s name, sidelined party MLA Manas Bhunia decided to stay back and only left the House after sometime.
This comes days after the state Congress unit decided to appeal to the AICC to suspend Bhunia and take disciplinary action against him. Bhunia had earlier been showcaused by Congress for refusing to step down from the post of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman despite repeated requests by party leaders.
Thirty-nine MLAs had also jointly appealed to Bhunia to resign from that post as Congress wanted to give the same to the CPM. Later, Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan had claimed that Congress MLAs would boycott Bhunia.
In the House on Monday, Congress MLAs proposed that a commission or a committee be set up so that a consensus could be reached before the name of the state was changed to ‘Bangla’ in Bengali, ‘Bengal’ in English and ‘Bangal’ in Hindi. The Left MLAs told the government that it should only be one name — Bangla — for all the three languages. However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to budge. Amid all this, Bhunia entered the House about an hour late. Later, when other Congress MLAs staged a walkout, Bhunia stayed back and left the House a little later. When he returned to the Assembly after sometime, addressing him, Mamata said: “Dr Bhunia, you are here. Tell your colleagues. This is not about politics. Politics can be done outside the Assembly.”
When contacted, Bhunia said he sees no problem if the name of the state was changed. “Bangla is an acceptable name, and the Opposition should not oppose the move only for the sake of it. There should be a pragmatic approach,” he said.
Asked why he did not walk out with other Congress MLAs, Bhunia said: “I did walk out a little later but I did not want to do it with the others. I returned later because I did not know if they had walked out for the remainder of the day.”
“I cannot sit on my seat because Mannan has ensured an environment of hatred and untouchability in the House. He had said that the CLP (Congress Legislative party) has boycotted me and if I am assaulted by anyone, he would not take responsibility,” he added.