A delegation of BJP MLAs of West Bengal would meet West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Tuesday morning to protest against the decision of West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Bandyopadhyay to make Mukul Roy the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the house. Roy, who won as a BJP MLA, recently switched to the Trinamool Congress. Bandyopadhyay said Roy was still being considered as a BJP MLA.
Sources have also confirmed that the BJP would ask all its MLA to resign from various other committees that they head. They can remain as members of those committees instead.
PAC is the committee of the house that sees the audit of the state government’s income and expenditure. Traditionally, the chairman’s post of the committee goes to biggest opposition party of the house. In Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury is the chairman of the PAC.
However, many believe it is the prerogative of the speaker, in consultation with the Assembly, to decide on chairmanship after getting nominations from different parties. Ideally, no government minister or any MLA connected to state government’s work can become the head of PAC.
The deputation to Dhankhar is symbolic as Bandyopadhyay had earlier written to Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla complaining that Dhankhar interfered in the business of the house in West Bengal as he held back two crucial bills.
Dhankhar might now report to the president of India about the violation of tradition in the West Bengal Assembly.
However, this is not the first time that business tradition of the house is broken. In previous house as well, Bandyopadhyay had appointed Manas Bhuyian, who then switched to TMC from Congress, as chairman of PAC. Then the opposition, consisting of Congress and Left parties, wanted CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty to head the committee, but the speaker turned down their request.
Protests were not launched by the opposition then like BJP is doing this time. Perhaps that incident is being accepted as a precedent and second time the age-old parliamentary tradition is broken. The governor perhaps had little to do as he could merely be a spectator.