Stung by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to nominate a senior Congress leader as her party’s candidate for the coming Rajya Sabha elections, a hurt Congress is now planning to hit back.
Banerjee rewarded Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, who served the Congress for the past 42 years and joined the Trinamool Congress on Friday, with the Rajya Sabha nomination the same day.
The Congress is contemplating retaliate Mamata Banerjee’s move with revoking the suspension of its 12 rebel leaders who had defied the party directive and contested against the official candidates of its alliance partner in the April-May assembly elections.
Those suspended included three sitting legislators Chittaranjan Roy, Hamidur Rahman and Fazle Haq.
“We are seriously thinking about revoking their suspension,” a Congress functionary said. “Their hearts are still with the Congress party,” he said.
Officially, the Congress sought to downplay the matter.
“It's democratic party. People change parties. Now, he has joined our alliance partner. In a democracy, anybody can take such decisions if he feels he will get more opportunity in some other party," said the Congress leader in-charge of West Bengal affairs Shakeel Ahmed.
But Roy’s is not the first case. A few weeks ago, Banerjee rewarded Sourav Chakraborty with an important party post soon after he left the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress party, and joined the Trinamool Congress. Chakraborty, who was the president of the West Bengal unit of NSUI two months ago, was immediately appointed as the chief of the West Bengal unit of the Trinamool Congress student wing.
Though both the West Bengal Congress and the central leadership have ruled out any “adverse impact” on the alliance by such “minor events”, the move has prompted the state unit to open its doors for the Trinamool Congress rebels.
For the record, the West Bengal Congress has decided to enquire both the matters and send a report to the party high command.