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TMC MLA backs BJP

- Manipur legislator says he did what party asked him to

Trinamul's Partha Chatterjee inaugurated a party office in Bhubaneswar on Monday but did not meet colleagues Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul. The duo, arrested in the Rose Valley case, are in a hospital in the Odisha capital

Calcutta, March 20: The lone Trinamul Congress MLA in Manipur today voted for the BJP in a floor test that Narendra Modi's party won to form the government, saying he had done what his party had asked him to do.

Trinamul contested legislator T. Robindro Singh's claim, saying he voted for the BJP to "save his life".

After the floor test, which the BJP cleared by securing the support of 33 MLAs in the 60-member House, Robindro Singh told PTI: "I extended support to the BJP after consulting the party's central leadership. I have neither violated the party's order nor done anything against its interests. Whatever the party asked me to do, I did."

The Trinamul MLA's support was not required for the BJP to pass the floor test but his backing and public admission embarrassed the Bengal ruling party.

The development prompted the Opposition Left and Congress to allege a "Modibhai-Didibhai understanding".

Trinamul all-India vice-president Mukul Roy rejected Robindro Singh's claim.

"We had directed our lone MLA to be in touch with the Congress and offer support in case that party formed the government, but they failed. To save his life, he extended support to the BJP-led government on his own, not with the permission of the party," Roy said.

He said Trinamul would initiate disciplinary action against Robindro Singh. No action had been announced till late in the evening.

The Left and the Congress have often alleged "bonhomie" between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, following which there was a perceived lull in the CBI probe into the Saradha scam.

"Mamata Banerjee is silent and is not attacking the BJP or criticising its choice of the Uttar Pradesh chief minister. Now she has gone a step forward and her party MLA has supported the BJP government in Manipur. What more proof is required?" CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said in Calcutta.

Mishra and several senior CPM leaders, including Left Front chairman Biman Bose, staged a protest outside the CBI office in Salt Lake demanding stern action against those who were seen accepting money in the Narada sting.

Congress general secretary Amitava Chakraborty said: "After Calcutta High Court handed over the Narada probe to the CBI, the Bengal chief minister needs the support of Modi. So, she cannot afford to take disciplinary action against the party MLA."

In Manipur, the BJP government of Nongthombam Biren Singh passed the floor test with the support of 21 MLAs of the BJP, four of the Naga Peoples' Front, four of the National Peoples' Party, one of the Lok Janshakti Party, Independent MLA Asab Uddin, a Congress legislator who had been inducted into the council of ministers and Trinamul's Robindro Singh.

The majority mark is 31.

Support for Yogi

Trinamul MP Sultan Ahmed said it was "wrong" to criticise Yogi Adityanath's "elevation to the post of Uttar Pradesh chief minister".

"It is wrong to criticise Yogi Adityanath's elevation to the post of Uttar Pradesh chief minister. Other political parties can't criticise his elevation as he has been democratically chosen by the elected BJP MLAs. The BJP has got the majority and it is their prerogative to decide who will be chief minister," senior Trinamul vice-president Ahmed told PTI.


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