+

Bengal: Speaker administers oath to 2 new TMC MLAs, Governor cries foul

West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Friday cried foul even as the Speaker administered the oath to two newly elected Trinamool Congress legislators, instead of the Deputy Speaker who had been authorised by Bose for the job. Bose on Friday wrote to President Droupadi Murmu, stating that the Assembly Speaker, Biman Banerjee, administering oath […]

West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose on Friday cried foul even as the Speaker administered the oath to two newly elected Trinamool Congress legislators, instead of the Deputy Speaker who had been authorised by Bose for the job.

Bose on Friday wrote to President Droupadi Murmu, stating that the Assembly Speaker, Biman Banerjee, administering oath to two newly elected Trinamool Congress MLAs was a “violation of the Constitution”, a Raj Bhavan official said. Their oath taking, though, had been pending since June and had become the focus of a bitter and prolonged stand-off between the Trinamool Congress and the Governor.

Late yesterday night – when it became obvious that the Speaker would be convening a special session on Friday to end the month-long impasse over swearing in of Sayantika Banerjee and Reyat Hussien Sarkar who had won by-elections from Baranagar and Bhagawangola respectively – the Raj Bhavan put out an order empowering Deputy Speaker Ashish Banerjee to administer the oath.

The BJP MLAs abstained from participating in both the special session and the oath-taking ceremony. Their absence was a notable aspect of the day’s proceedings, underscoring ongoing political tensions in the State Assembly.

Though Governor Bose had deputed Deputy Speaker Ashish Banerjee to administer the oath, he refused to do so, saying “it does not seem good that the Deputy Speaker is administering oath while Speaker is present”.

During a Business Advisory committee meeting before the Assembly session, the Speaker had a talk with the Deputy Speaker, following which he agreed to administer the oath. But when the session began, the Deputy Speaker said the Speaker should administer the oath as he was present.

Eventually, violating the Governor’s directive, the Speaker administered the oath to the two MLAs.

After the ceremony was over, Trinamool Congress legislators raised the “Jai Bangla” slogan in the House.

The Raj Bhavan official quoted Bose as saying that “a report would be sent to President Droupadi Murmu about the Constitutional impropriety of the Speaker in administering the oath to the two newly elected MLAs. This Constitutional transgression has been done in spite of the Governor appointing the Deputy Speaker as the person before whom the two newly elected MLAs shall take their oaths.”

The newly elected MLAs Sarkar from Bhagabangola in Murshidabad district and Banerjee from Baranagar in North 24 Parganas district had won their seats in recent by-elections held alongside the Lok Sabha polls. The Governor had invited them to take the oath at the Raj Bhavan last month, but they declined, citing convention that by-election winners should be sworn in by the Speaker or Deputy Speaker in the Bidhan Sabha.

Demanding their oath-taking ceremony be held in the Bidhan Sabha, Sarkar and Banerjee had staged a seven-day sit-in protest in the Assembly complex, leading to the eventual special session called by Speaker Biman Banerjee. The Governor, who normally assigns either the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker to give oath to the legislators, sent a letter inviting the MLAs to take oath at the Raj Bhavan on June 26. However, the letter reportedly did not mention who would administer the oath. This led the Trinamool Congress to announce that it would not attend the swearing-in ceremony.

“It is insulting to a people’s representative. The letter from Raj Bhavan only mentioned that a person who will be selected by the Governor will administer the oath. This is unprecedented in a democratic system. We will not attend the ceremony,” State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay had said.

The two newly elected MLAs then started a protest at the Assembly demanding that Governor Bose come to the Assembly to administer the oath or assign the Speaker to take up the task.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also launched a scathing attack against the Governor for the delay in the swearing-in ceremony. “The two legislators have been elected by people’s mandate. What right does the Governor have to stop them from taking oath? It has been almost a month that uncertainties are shrouding the issue,” Banerjee said at state secretariat Nabanna last week.

“They [the MLA-elects] are right. Either the Governor should nominate the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker to administer the oath, or he should go to the Assembly himself and do the needful. Why will the two MLAs go to the Raj Bhavan? As it is, after what happened in the Raj Bhavan, women are scared to go there. I have received complaints,” Banerjee added, hinting at the police complaint filed by a temporary female staff of the Raj Bhavan accusing the Governor of molestation.

Tags:

CV ananda boseTDGThe Daily Guardian