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Mukul makes an offer, Cong MLA rejects

Calcutta, Nov. 26: Saumitra Khan, a first-time Congress MLA from Bankura’s Katalpur, today said he had rejected Trinamul all-India general secretary Mukul Roy’s offer to join the ruling party, at a time there has been a deluge of defections from the Congress.

“I straightaway rejected Roy’s offer of a plum post in his party,” Khan, 31, told The Telegraph this afternoon.

Khan, the lone Congress MLA from Bankura, had met Roy at the Trinamul leader’s Nizam Palace office on Sunday night after getting a call from him.

“I met him without informing my party leaders…. I had an inkling that he might ask me to join Trinamul. I just wanted to know how Trinamul leaders are wooing our leaders,” Khan said. “He offered me a prominent position in the party, but I said no.”

He said MLA Ajoy De, who defected to Trinamul from the Congress yesterday, was also present at the meeting.

After the 45-minute meeting, Khan went to the MLA Hostel and called up Congress secretary Soumitra Roy to tell him about the encounter.

Roy said tonight: “Yes, I met Khan. But the talks did not materialise.”

State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said he was not aware that Khan had been approached.

“He has done a good job by rejecting the offer. Others should learn from it,” Bhattacharya said.

Trinamul sources said the party had set its sight on two Congress MLAs who had “shown interest” in switching to the ruling party.