The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool Congress got engaged in a tussle over the nomination of Mukul Roy in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the West Bengal Assembly, with the former alleging that Roy had joined the Trinamool after winning the elections from Krishnanagar North in Nadia district on a BJP ticket.
The BJP has submitted an objection petition to the Secretary of the Assembly demanding disposing of the petition with sustainable reasons or rejecting the nomination of Roy.
The West Bengal Assembly has 41 committees and among them the PAC, which works as the audit watchdog for the House, is considered the most important one.
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.
“The question remains as to whether Mukul Roy’s representation is from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or the All India Trinamool Congress. The BJP has not recommended the name of Mukul Roy in the Public Accounts Committee. Either he has to be from the BJP or from the TMC and his name has to be recommended by the BJP or the TMC. Otherwise, the terms mentioned in the Rule 302 of ‘Proportional Representation’ are not complied with.”
“It is also important to indicate herein that in the nomination form, the name of the proposer mentioned is Shree Ruden Sada Lepcha, who is an independent member supported by TMC and the name of the seconder is Shree Tarun Kumar Maity, also an elected member of TMC,” the letter added.
“In view of the legal interpretation and the compliance of Rule 302, we are requesting you to either dispose of this objection petition with sustainable reasons and/or reject the nomination form of Mukul Roy,” it said.
On June 18, the BJP had submitted a petition before Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee, saying that Roy had won on a BJP ticket and he should be disqualified under the anti-defection law as he did not resign from the BJP before switching sides.
The decision to disqualify a member is taken only by the Speaker. The Constitution does not specify any timeframe for the process which involves inquiry and setting up of a committee.
According to rules, it is the discretion of the Speaker to select the chairpersons of the various committees in the Assembly.
The BJP wants Ashok Lahiri, the former chief economic adviser to the government of India, who had won from the Balurghat seat in north Bengal, to be the PAC Chairman.
BJP MLA and leader of opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, had recently submitted a petition to the Speaker for the disqualification of Roy. Adhikari had demanded Roy’s resignation citing anti-defection laws.
“‘Todna-Jodna’ is part of Trinamool’s dirty politics. They have been doing this for the past 10 years and nobody opposed it. But it is being opposed now and action will be taken under the anti-defection law,” Adhikari had said on approaching Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar against Roy.