Six Congress MLAs in Tripura join Trinamool

Agartala, June 7 (IANS) Six Congress legislators on Tuesday joined the Trinamool Congress in Tripura, pushing the until now main opposition party in the state assembly to the third spot.

Assembly Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath said he was given a letter by Congress legislator Sudip Roy Barman on behalf of all the six. Barman was accompanied by three of his colleagues.

“The letter is signed by six Congress MLAs, informing me they have joined the Trinamool Congress,” Debnath told the media.

“I will call the six MLAs for individual hearing and verification of signature. And after consulting the rules and experts, I will take a final decision in a day or two.”

Besides Roy Barman, other Congress MLAs who are said to have signed the letter include Ashish Saha, Biswabandhu Sen, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Pranjit Singha Roy and Dilip Sarkar.

Pranjit Singha Roy is out of Tripura while an ailing Dilip Sarkar was not present when Roy Barman handed over the letter to the Speaker.

Meanwhile, Tripura Congress president Birajit Sinha urged the Speaker to act against the six legislators under the anti-defection law.

Sinha, in consultation with the Congress central leadership, suspended Biswabandhu Sen for six years for “anti-party activities”.

The Congress is left with only three legislators in the 60-member assembly, its lowest in the Left-ruled state since Tripura became a full-fledged state in 1972 — except once in 1978.

In 1978, when the Left Front led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) first came to power in Tripura, the Congress had no legislator while a tribal party — Tripura Upajati Juba Samity — an erstwhile ally of the Congress had four legislators.

Sudip Roy Barman recently resigned as Congress Legislative Party leader to protest against the Congress-Left alliance in West Bengal. Barman was the opposition leader in the Tripura assembly.

In the 60-seat house, the CPI-M has 49 members. The Communist Party of India (CPI) has one member.

If the Speaker recognises the six Congress lawmakers as TMC members, the West Bengal-based party will open its account in the Tripura assembly.

Trinamool Congress Vice President Mukul Roy visited the state on Tuesday, his second visit to the Left-ruled state in five days.

On Monday, another Congress legislator, Jitendra Sarkar, resigned from the Tripura assembly and said he would rejoin the ruling CPI-M.

A former two-term Tripura assembly Speaker, Sarkar joined the Congress in 2010.

AICC secretary Bhupen Bora, who was sent by the Congress leadership on Tuesday to deal with the latest crisis, held a series of meetings with the state leaders.

Trinamool leader Mukul Roy said at a public meeting here that his party would fight tooth and nail to dislodge the Left Front government in Tripura and take power in the state after the 2018 assembly polls.

Later, a Trinamool delegation led by Roy and Sudip Roy Barman met Governor Tathagata Roy and told him about “deteriorating law and order” in the state.

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