BJP to seek recognition of ex-TMC MLAs in Tripura house
A day after six axed Trinamool Congress legislators joined the Bharatiya Janata party, its leader on Tuesday said the party will urge Tripura assembly Speaker to recognise the legislators as its party members.
"I will soon write to the state assembly Speaker to recognise the six MLAs as BJP members. The entire process on our side will be completed within one or two weeks," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tripura unit President Biplab Kumar Deb told IANS.
"There is a big rally to be held here tomorrow (Wednesday). After that I will write to the Speaker to recognise the legislators as BJP members."
Tripura Speaker Ramendra Chandra Debnath said the state BJP President and all the six legislators either individually or collectively will have to write letters to him.
"After getting all the letters, I will start the process and talk to the MLAs individually before deciding on their recognition," Debnath told IANS.
Led by Sudip Roy Barman, five lawmakers -- Ashish Kumar Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, Biswa Bandhu Sen, Pranjit Singh Roy and Dilip Sarkar -- accompanied by hundreds of former Trinamool Congress leaders and workers on Monday joined the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and a host of BJP leaders.
The six legislators, according to the Speaker, are still recognised as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC's legislators.
Veteran tribal leader Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, who was the leader of the TMC legislature group, said the BJP should choose a new legislature party leader.
"The entire process will depend on the party (BJP). The state BJP President will initiate the process according to his convenience," said Hrangkhaw, a former Tripura Congress President.
After the recognition of all six legislators as BJP members, the Tripura assembly will get its first saffron party members since the northeastern state got a legislative body -- 32-member Territorial council 60 years ago in 1957.
After the princely ruled Tripura merged with the Indian Union on October 15, 1949, Tripura, the "C" category state under the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, along with Manipur and Meghalaya on January 21, 1972, became full-fledged state with 60-member assembly.
The six TMC legislators led by Barman had earlier in June last year resigned from the Congress and joined the Trinamool to protest the Congress' electoral alliance with the Left for the 2016 West Bengal assembly elections.
They along with rebel Congress legislator Ratanlal Nath voted for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election on July 17.
A BJP leader said Sarma, a former Congress minister who joined the BJP before Assam elections and is now convener of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance, facilitated these TMC legislators' entry into the party.
"Ratanlal Nath will also join the BJP soon," he added.
The Congress has already served a show-cause notice to Nath for anti-party activities and meeting BJP leaders, and according to party sources, he may be expelled soon.
However, Nath has been evading queries about joining the BJP though he has met its leaders, including Amit Shah, in the past several months.
In the 60-member assembly, the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front has 51 members with CPI-M alone 50 and the Congress has only three members.
The Left-ruled state goes to polls in February next year.