The BJP’s West Bengal unit has arranged accommodation of its legislators, except one, at a luxury hotel in northern Kolkata since Sunday noon to ensure that all of them can go together to the Assembly on Monday morning to vote in the Presidential polls.
According to Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, all the MLAs will be briefed about the voting process in Presidential polls on Sunday evening. “We do not want a single vote to be cancelled,” he said.
Currently the BJP’s strength in the Assembly is 70. However, on Sunday noon, only 69 MLAs were housed at the New Town hotel. The one left out was Bhatpara MLA, Pawan Singh, son of its Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh, who had recently rejoined the ruling Trinamool Congress. Since Pawan Singh is yet to make his stand clear as yet, the state BJP leadership is not counting on him.
In the 2021 elections, a total of 77 BJP legislators got elected. However, after that several BJP legislators joined the Trinamool, and the current number is down to 70.
While officially the state BJP leadership claimed that this initiative to house the party legislators in the hotel was for briefing on voting process, party insiders said they did not want to take any risk.
The state BJP leadership could not fathom the fact that on July 12, when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s candidate, Draupadi Murmu came to Kolkata and had a meeting with the elected party MPs and MLAs, a number of MLAs and MPs remained absent.
Trinamool leaders have ridiculed the initiative of the state BJP to house their MLAs at the hotel.
According to state Finance Minister, Chandrima Bhattacharya, this a proof that BJP does not trust their own elected representatives and that is why it had to arrange for their accommodation in a luxury hotel. “This reminds me of the hotel episode in Assam to topple the Maharashtra government. Our MLAs too have reached Kolkata today. We are also arranging briefing for the first-time MLAs. But we do not have that money like BJP to arrange a luxurious hotel for their accommodation,” she said.