3 LF, 2 Congress MLAs vote for Trinamul; Mamata says ‘no horse-trading’
statesman news service
Kolkata, 7 February
Stunning the Left Front, three of its MLAs ~ Ananta Deb Adhikari and Dasarath Tirkey, both from the RSP and Sunil Mondal (Forward Bloc) ~ today indulged in cross-voting, along with two Congress MLAs ~ Sushil Chandra Roy and Imani Biswas ~ and helped the Trinamul Congress’ fourth Rajya Sabha candidate, Ahmed Hossain (Imran) emerge victorious, though his fate had looked uncertain even till this morning.
Three other Trinamul candidates ~ Mithun Chakraborty, Jogen Choudhury and KD Singh ~ and the lone Left Front candidate, Ritabrata Banerjee, sailed through automatically on the strength of the minimum required 49 first preference votes.
The Trinamul had 40 votes for its fourth candidate which was seven short of the required minimum. But in the end Mr Hossain secured 47 valid votes, while two votes cast in his favour were rejected for technical reasons. Rebel Trinamul MLA, Shikha Mitra, voted for the Independent candidate SA Maliahabadi. Trinamul supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee rubbished the LF charge that the ruling party had indulged in horse-trading. “Horse-trading doesn’t happen in Bengal which is a politically mature state. The Congress and the CPI-M tied up in an unprincipled manner and for this some conscientious Left MLAs, who couldn’t accept such unethical politics, supported our candidate. The Left got so panicky that all its MLAs cast their votes in favour of their lone candidate ditching the Independent candidate it had announced to support.” “I have fought the CPI-M all my life and cannot vote for it now", the Congress MLA from Suti, Imani Biswas, told the media. Refusing to be branded as a traitor, he said: “I had informed the party leadership of my decision last night.”
Speaking in the same vein, Congress MLA from Gajol Sushil Chandra Roy said : "Having opposed the CPI-M’s oppression throughout my political career, I cannot vote for a candidate of its choice."
The three LF MLAs (two from the RSP and one from the FB) blamed the CPI-M’s "Stalinist" policies for their decision to vote for the Trinamul candidate. "The Left ideology is in a shambles and our leaders live in the comfort of Kolkata party offices far away from the toiling masses," FB MLA Sunil Mondal said. The RSP MLA from Moynaguri, Anantadeb Adhikari said : "I voted for the Trinmul candidate as there has not been any development of north Bengal during LF rule.”
However, the Congress MLA from Sujapur A N Khan Choudhury, who had announced yesterday that he would vote for the Trinamul, eventually cast his vote in favour of his party-backed Independent candidate. His elder brother, AH Khan Choudhury, a Union minister, accompanied him to the state Assembly.
RSP state secretary Kshiti Goswami said: "The actions of the two party MLAs have made me hang my head in shame. The MLAs who have voted for the Trinamul candidate have betrayed the party they represented, the LF and the people who have voted for them. Though the members of the state committee are very angry with these MLAs, their expulsion would take some time owing to procedural reasons."
PCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya said the party had suspended its two MLAs ~ Mr Biswas and Mr Roy.
"We were getting reports that the duo were involved in anti-party activities," Mr Bhattacharya said.
Mr Biswas reportedly nursed a grievance against the party which hadn’t helped him when he was allegedly beaten up by the police recently.
Maverick CPI-M leader Abdur Rezzak Molla, who described the party’s candidate as "a cadbury candidate", said the three Left MLA were "adulterated stuff"(bhejal mal).
The north Bengal development minister, Mr Gautam Deb, said the LF had begun to break up in north Bengal and the Trinamul Congress would welcome those among the Left who wanted to join it.