Mukul Roy made PAC chairman in Bengal assembly, BJP walks out

Kolkata: Mukul Roy, who has joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) but is still officially a legislator of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was made chairman of the public accounts committee (PAC) of the West Bengal assembly on Friday as the budget session came to an end
Former BJP MLA Mukul Roy who joined Trinamool Congress party recently at West Bengal Legislative Assembly during Budget session, in Kolkata, Monday, July 5, 2021.(PTI)
Former BJP MLA Mukul Roy who joined Trinamool Congress party recently at West Bengal Legislative Assembly during Budget session, in Kolkata, Monday, July 5, 2021.(PTI)
Published on Jul 10, 2021 01:24 AM IST
Copy Link
By, Kolkata

Mukul Roy, who has joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) but is still officially a legislator of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was made chairman of the public accounts committee (PAC) of the West Bengal assembly on Friday as the budget session came to an end.

BJP lawmakers staged a walkout in protest, saying the convention of an opposition MLA appointed as head of the PAC was violated. The party had nominated Ashok Lahiri, former chief economic adviser to the Centre and lawmaker from Balurghat, for the post.

“We did not nominate Roy for inclusion in the PAC. The ruling party wants to spend government funds and keep the accounts as well. This is autocracy. The speaker violated convention,” said Suvendu Adhikari, BJP legislator and leader of the opposition in the assembly.

Defending the decision of speaker Biman Banerjee, TMC Lok Sabha member Saugata Roy said, “There is no rule which says an opposition leader has to be made the PAC chairman. It is only a convention. The speaker is the sole authority to select the chairman. He has done the right thing.”

The speaker told the House that Roy was selected because of his experience.

That Roy could be made the PAC chairman had become somehow apparent on June 24 when chief minister Mamata Banerjee stoked speculations.

“Anybody can file nomination papers for inclusion in the PAC. He (Roy) is a BJP member. He has been supported by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha. If required, we will support him too. We will win if there is an election. Let people see who is more powerful. The speaker takes these decisions,” Banerjee had told the reporters during a press conference.

However, no election was held on Friday since the BJP had nominated six MLAs for inclusion in the PAC, which can have a maximum of 20 members. The TMC had named 14 MLAs, said Adhikari.

According to rules, it is the discretion of the speaker to select the chairpersons of the various committees in the assembly. The Bengal assembly has 41 committees, of which PAC is considered the most important one.

Earlier, the BJP and TMC got into a tussle on June 25 when 67-year-old Roy, who left the saffron camp and returned to the ruling party on June 11, filed his nomination for induction in the PAC.

On June 18, the BJP submitted a petition before assembly speaker Biman Banerjee, saying Roy, the legislator from Krishnanagar North constituency in Nadia district, should be disqualified under anti-defection law as he did not resign from the BJP before switching sides.

On June 26, the BJP submitted a letter to the speaker saying Roy’s nomination should be cancelled because the party did not nominate him. Stating that the BJP may seek legal action, the letter added that Roy should be disqualified under anti-defection law.

The decision to disqualify a member is taken only by the speaker. The Constitution does not specify any time frame for the process, which involves inquiry and setting up of a committee.

Adhikari, Mamata Banerjee’s protege-turned-adversary, joined the BJP in December last year and defeated her from Nandigram constituency in the recently concluded assembly polls. He filed the application for Roy’s disqualification. Roy, who joined the BJP in 2017 and became the party’s national vice-president, returned to the TMC along with his son Subhranshu, but did not officially resign from the BJP, said opposition leaders.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, January 25, 2022