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Mamata's Masterstroke? Mukul Roy, Still a BJP MLA, Appointed PAC Chairman in WB Assembly

File photo of TMC leader Mukul Roy.

File photo of TMC leader Mukul Roy.

A leader from the Opposition is usually given the post. The TMC gave Roy the charge citing he is legally a BJP MLA.

In a significant political development, Mukul Roy - who recently quit the party after winning the assembly polls on a BJP ticket and rejoined the ruling TMC in presence of Mamata Banerjee - was appointed the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the West Bengal Assembly on Friday by Speaker Biman Banerjee.

Soon after Roy was made the PAC chairperson, there was uproar in the Assembly as BJP MLAs, led by Leader of Opposition (LoP) Suvendu Adhikari, staged a walkout while raising slogans against this decision.

Adhikari accused the ruling TMC of violating the norms while announcing Roy as PAC chairperson. They wanted to make BJP MLA from Balurghat, Ashok Lahiri (former Chief Economic Adviser to Centre) to be the PAC chairperson.

On June 18, Adhikari has submitted a petition before the Speaker of the State Assembly claiming that since Roy joined TMC on June 11 - he should be disqualified under the anti-defection law as he did not resign from the BJP before switching sides.

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Legally, Mukul is still the BJP MLA (he has not resigned despite being asked several times by the BJP leaders) from the Kishnanagar North constituency in the Nadia district.

Since a leader from the opposition is usually made a chairman of the PAC – TMC played a masterstroke and made Roy PAC chairperson citing that he is legally a BJP MLA.

Also, the Speaker has the power to select the chairpersons of the various committees in the State Assembly.

There are 41 committees in West Bengal Assembly and PAC is the most crucial one because it works as the audit body for the house.

Agitated by the decision, the BJP leaders who walked out from the house claimed that opposition MLA is usually appointed as the PAC chairman but the TMC misused their power by appointing Mukul Roy as PAC chairman.

Mukul started his political career with Youth Congress and during those periods he became close to Banerjee. Then, she was also a Youth Congress leader. Later, they along with other Youth Congress leaders broke away from the Congress party and formed the All India Trinamool Congress in January 1998.

To be precise - on December 17, 1997, Mukul Roy was the first to join when Trinamool Congress was formed - a year before when it was officially founded on January 1, 1998.

Since Roy was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Saradha Ponzi scheme in 2015, his relationship with Mamata had turned bitter.

On September 25, 2017, in a major setback for the TMC, Roy resigned from the party’s working committee.

He officially joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on November 3, 2017, and had said he is proud to get an opportunity to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, soon after the Assembly poll results in 2021 he expressed dismay over BJP leaderships in Bengal and joined TMC on June 11 in presence of Mamata Banerjee.

Then, welcoming Mukul in Trinamool Congress – party supremo Mamatas Banerjee termed his ‘Ghar Wapsi’ as ‘Old is Gold’.

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first published:July 09, 2021, 18:26 IST