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Gosh! There goes a chance to nail rivals

Calcutta, July 8: The Assembly Speaker today initially disallowed the Left from tabling a motion on the appointment of Bengal’s next governor, prompting some Trinamul leaders to rue a lost chance of killing two birds with one stone.

The Left had today submitted a motion demanding a discussion on the possible appointment of a “loyalist” of the Centre, who the Front alleged was “involved” in the Babri Masjid demolition, as the governor. Although the motion did not mention any name, leader of Opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra later said he had heard that the BJP’s Kalyan Singh could be appointed as the governor.

Speaker Biman Banerjee disallowed the tabling of the motion, prompting the Left to stage a walkout. The Speaker, however, said in the evening that he would give a ruling on the motion tomorrow after “considering all aspects”.

“I will have to go through the rule and discuss with experts before giving the ruling tomorrow,” Speaker Banerjee said.

Trinamul leaders said that had the motion been allowed, it could have given the Bengal ruling party the “opportunity to oppose” the possible appointment of a BJP leader, who had failed to prevent the Babri Masjid demolition as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1992. “The onus would have been on the Left, but we would have got the opportunity to register our opposition to the possible nomination,” a Trinamul leader said.

Another nugget heightened the irony for Trinamul. The Left cited federalism, an issue close to Mamata Banerjee’s heart, to demand a discussion on the appointment of the governor.

Sources in the Trinamul legislature party said that although no motion could be tabled in the House “in anticipation of somebody’s appointment”, the issue could be “to the chief minister’s liking”.

The CPM’s Mishra said after the walkout: “We wanted a discussion on the possible appointment of the BJP’s Kalyan Singh as the governor of Bengal. He was at the helm of Uttar Pradesh during the Babri Masjid tragedy.”

In its motion, the Left Front cited the Sarkaria Commission, set up by the Centre in June 1983, which had recommended the appointment of apolitical persons as governors. The commission had recommended that the Assembly should prepare a panel of apolitical persons from which the governor would be chosen by the Centre after consulting the chief minister.

Bihar governor D.Y. Patil has taken additional charge of Bengal following M.K. Narayanan’s resignation.