MLAs refuse to accept Roy as CLP leader

Six Tripura Congress legislators supporting former leader of the Opposition Sudip Roy Barman, who resigned on March 27, have sent a letter to AICC president Sonia Gandhi stating that they do not support senior MLA Gopal Roy as the next leader of the Opposition. Roy was selected unilaterally by AICC general secretary V. Narayanswamy.

By Our Special Correspondent in Agartala
  • Published 27.04.16
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Agartala, April 26: Six Tripura Congress legislators supporting former leader of the Opposition Sudip Roy Barman, who resigned on March 27, have sent a letter to AICC president Sonia Gandhi stating that they do not support senior MLA Gopal Roy as the next leader of the Opposition. Roy was selected unilaterally by AICC general secretary V. Narayanswamy.

The signatories to the letter, a copy of which was also submitted to Speaker Ramendra Debnath, included MLAs Asish Saha, Biswabandhu Sen, D.C. Hrangkhawal, Pranjit Singha Roy, Dilip Sarkar and Jiten Sarkar.

Barman had resigned protesting against the Congress's alliance with the CPM in Bengal and the AICC's failure to consult leaders of the party in Tripura on the issue. Barman had been issued a showcause notice on April 8 by AICC general secretary in-charge of Tripura V. Narayanswamy.

While furnishing his reply, Barman had not only justified his decision to resign but had also made a scathing indictment of the CPM and its "shady role" in national politics.

Yesterday, Narayanswamy, in a letter to Tripura PCC president Birajit Sinha, had informed him that senior MLA Gopal Roy would be the leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP). Sinha was directed to submit a copy of the letter to the Speaker.

This forced the followers of Barman to address a letter of complaint to Sonia Gandhi, furnishing a copy thereof to the Speaker.

Debnath, who as Speaker is the authority to accord recognition as leader of the Opposition, has gone to his constituency at Jubarajnagar in North Tripura and was not available for comment.

But Roy said he had been appointed CLP leader beyond any dispute. "Now it is up to the Speaker to accord me recognition as leader of the Opposition. If the Speaker gives importance to the MLAs' letter in defiance of the party central leadership's letter and withhold recognition, it will pose no problem; but if the six MLAs defy the party's whip openly in the House they will be inviting disciplinary action," Roy said.

He added that in the 60-member Assembly, a strength of 10 members or one-sixth of the total strength was enough to secure recognition as Opposition and its leader as leader of the Opposition.

Apart from this, PCC president Birajit Sinjha, too, has issued a statement to this effect. "If anyone defies the party high command's whip and acts against the party's stated position, the said member or group of members will be subject to disciplinary action which may extend to expulsion from the party," Sinha said in his statement.

Sources in the dissident camp of the Congress said they were in touch with the Trinamul Congress and had initial talks with the Bengal Trinamul leadership.

They indicated that a final decision would be taken only after the declaration of results of the Bengal Assembly polls.

Sources, however, conceded that all six MLAs were not at one in the matter of joining Trinamul and a section was in favour of joining the BJP.