The state Congress on Tuesday announced that it will indefinitely boycott the proceedings of the state Assembly to protest against the alleged attacks by the ruling Trinamool Congress on the constitutional rights of its leaders and workers both inside and outside the House.
Alleging that the ruling party was using its “muscle power” and the administration to force Congress leaders at different levels to defect and join the TMC, Congress Legislature Party chief Manas Bhuniya said Trinamool was trying to curb the democratic rights of Opposition
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Raising a question during Zero Hour, Bhuniya — also a former state Congress president — said: “Constitutional rights of the elected representatives are at stake. Parliamentary democracy was at stake. Trinamool Congress has formed an unholy nexus of mafias, police and the administration.”
Ahead of the election of chairman in Kharagpur Municipality, where Congress — which was running the previous board and also plans to form the next board on Thursday — Bhuniya said 11 of their elected councillors have been driven out of town and were continuously under threat. The TMC had already managed to “buy over” four BJP councillors and one CPI councillor, he alleged, adding that it was an unfair practice.
Bhuniya and other Congress MLAs further alleged that bomb attacks have been carried out in the houses of Congress councillors in Kharagpur.
They alleged that the police, instead of taking action against the TMC “hoodlums”, have now begun to harass elected Congress councillors.
“They have also got a person to make judicial statements under Section 164 of the CrPC, claiming that Congress councillors had mounted attacks on TMC councillors,” claimed Bhuniya.
The former state Congress chief demanded a ruling by the Speaker on whether Opposition parties still enjoyed rights following “repeated” attacks on them. The Speaker assured him that the House gave the Opposition members due respect and even included them in different committees. Unhappy with the reply, the Congress members walked out of the House.
“We have decided to boycott the House for an indefinite period. We had requested the Speaker to give a ruling on whether Opposition parties still enjoyed rights following repeated attacks on them both in and outside the House. It was not given. We also wanted a statement from the chief minister or a minister on this issue, but we were denied,” Bhuniya said.
The Congress members later held a dharna at the entrance of the Assembly for about an hour.
The Congress Legislature Party also demanded the dismissal of party MLA Katwa, Rabindranath Chatterjee, who had recently joined TMC and was allotted a seat in Treasury Benches by the Speaker.
Chatterjee later held a meeting with TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee and reportedly expressed his willingness to resign as an MLA.