Cross-voting, a phenomenon rare in Bengal politics, ran rife on Friday’s biennial Rajya Sabha elections, leaving the Left Front and the Congress red-faced and helping candidates of the ruling Trinamool Congress romp home to victory.
The cross voting specially eroded the image of the Left, which is known for its iron discipline.
The opposition parties blamed “money and muscle power” of the Trinamool, and took action against their legislators. While the RSP began the process of sacking two MLAs, Congress suspended two for six years.
“The ruling party is sitting on piles of cash. They think money can dictate everything,” said LF chairman Biman Bose.
“Those who are in other parties but have voted for our candidate have done so as they want to work for the Trinamool,” party chief and chief minister Mamata Banerjee was quick to retort.
The stage had been set on Thursday when three LF legislators went “missing” and a complaint was filed with the police. On Friday, the Left was red-faced. “There was a lot of adulteration in the Left parties,” said former minister Rezzak Mollah.
Another unexplained incident was that of Congress MLA and Gani Khan Chowdhury’s brother Abu Naser Khan Chowdhury casting his vote in favour of the Congress, but rendering it invalid by signing on the ballot paper. On Thursday, Chowdhury had threatened to vote for TMC.