August 13, 2016 12:54:39 am
After not taking part in five meetings of the state Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) called by its chairman Manas Bhunia, two of the three Left MLAs attended its sixth meeting on Friday. They were PAC members Sujan Chakraborty (CPM) and Biswanath Chowdhury (RSP).
However, besides Congress members — Asit Mitra, Sukhbilas Burma and Shankar Singh — CPM MLA and Siliguri Mayor Ashok Bhattacharya also stayed away from the meeting.
Since Bhunia recently accepted the Assembly Speaker’s invitation to become the PAC chairman, a post which his party wanted to go to the CPM, Congress had boycotted all the meetings called by the Sabang MLA. While the Left had not officially boycotted the meetings, it had cited several reasons for being absent. A war of words has also been witnessed between Bhunia and the state Congress leadership, so much so that the matter has reached the party national leadership.
Chakraborty on Friday claimed Left MLAs had not avoided the PAC meetings because of any bitterness with Bhunia. “We had objected to the procedure. The election of the PAC chairman is normally done in accordance with the suggestions of the Leader of Opposition. This time it was violated. Who got the post did not matter for us. Both CPM and Congress will hold joint campaigns against state atrocities,” he said.
He claimed that he had not ben able to attend the meetings till now owing to pre-scheduled party work.
“I had requested if the weekly PAC meeting could be rescheduled from Friday. Since both Bhunia and the Speaker said it was not possible, I have rescheduled my works. While Chowdhury made time to attend today’s meeting, Bhattacharya could not,” Chakraborty said, adding that from now on, he would regularly attend the PAC meetings.
When asked, Bhunia said: “I am happy that Left MLAs have attended today’s meeting. but I don’t know when Congress MLAs would do the same… It is unfortunate that Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan and state Congress president Adhir Chowdhury are insulting the Constitution by not allowing party MLAs attend the meetings.”
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