The Congress has asked its newly elected MLAs in West Bengal to sign a written declaration promising they will not leave the party.
In a bid to prevent its MLAs from defecting to the Trinamool Congress, Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury proposed on Tuesday that the 44 legislators sign an affidavit asserting their loyalty to the party.
“It was decided that all MLAs will have to sign a memorandum (written on stamp paper) stating that they will not leave the party. If they want to, they must resign from the post of MLA... And they will not talk against the party,” Congress leader Manas Bhuniya said.
On Wednesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party aimed potshots at the Congress, saying the decision was demeaning and hilarious.
“The Congress does horse-trading; they believe in buying MPs and MLAs of other parties. Now they have succumbed to their own wrongdoings. And now due to insecurity they are getting these undertaking signed saying that the MLAs will not take an anti-Congress step,” BJP leader Rahul Sinha told ANI.
“The other thing is the image of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi is diminishing, the leaders of the party don’t want Rahul Gandhi to be the face of Congress as Rahul Gandhi is like Lilliput in front of Modi. If you ask me it is very demeaning and hilarious that you have to use such tactics to maintain your position and confine your post,” he added
While the Trinamool Congress won the elections with 211 seats in the 294-member West Bengal assembly, the Left-Congress alliance was relegated to 76 seats. The Congress is the principal Opposition party in West Bengal after winning 44 seats in the recently concluded elections.
Several Congress MLAs had quit and joined the Trinamool Congress after Mamata Banerjee pulled out of the ruling UPA in 2011, tipping the government into a minority. Banerjee had demanded the government reverse its decision to raise diesel prices and open India’s supermarket sector to investment from foreign chains such as Wal-Mart Stores.