Six Congress MLAs who had joined Trinamool Congress in Tripura in May this year have been allowed by the Speaker to keep their membership of the 60-member House.

Speaker Ramendra Debnath said "I have heard the views of the six MLAs led by former Leader of the Opposition Sudip Roy Burman, who joined TMC and also heard the view of the Tripura Pradesh Congress President, Birajit Sinha.

"I have also taken the opinion of legal experts. They do not come under anti-defection act. So, their membership of the state assembly is valid."

The speaker, however, said they would not get the status of Leader of the Opposition because in a 60-member House, at least ten MLAs were required to get the status.

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee would later be elected from TMC, he said.

Sudip Roy Burman, former leader of the opposition, told reporters that he would write a letter to the speaker to give them the status of the leader of the opposition because the strength of six MLAs would be enough to get the status.

Meanwhile, Congress expressed disappointment over the speaker’s decision and described it as ‘politically motivated’.

"We are examining the speaker’s order and exploring whether the same can be challenged in court," former Congress MLA and spokesman Tapas De said.

Those who had joined TMC from opposition Congress are Sudip Roy Barman, Ashish Saha, Biswabandhu Sen, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Pranjit Singha Roy and Dilip Sarkar.

Roy Barman and the five MLAs had resigned from Congress in protest against the party s alliance with the Left parties for the West Bengal Assembly elections.

Another Congress legislator, Jitendra Sarkar, resigned from the Tripura Assembly and rejoined the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).