Two newly elected TMC MLAs – Rayat Hossain Sarkar and Sayantika Banerjee – waited on the West Bengal Legislative Assembly premises in Kolkata for their swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, However, officials said West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose refused to hold the programme in the assembly as requested by them, and instead left for New Delhi.

Miffed over the Governor’s action, the two MLAs said they would again write to the Governor and would continue their sit-in protest on Thursday too inside the assembly premises.

“Today we waited till 4 PM but the Governor didn’t come. We would again write to the Governor and request him to administer the oath here at the assembly. Tomorrow again we would sit near the statue of Dr B R Ambedkar and protest against the injustice,” Bandopadhyay was quoted by news agency PTI.

His statement came after a meeting with Speaker Biman Banerjee, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sobhandeb Chottoapadhyay along with Sarkar.

Raj Bhavan had earlier invited the two, who were elected to the assembly in recent by-polls, to take the oath at the Governor’s House on Wednesday.

However, the TMC claimed that the convention dictates that in the case of by-poll winners, the governor assigns the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker of the assembly to administer the oath.

Sources at Raj Bhavan told news agency PTI that the governor left for New Delhi in the evening.

Earlier in the day, the two MLAs arrived at the assembly and stated their intention to wait for the governor till 4 pm to administer their oath of office or authorize the Speaker to do so.

They also staged a sit-in on the staircase of the assembly demanding the same.

“We came to know that he had left for New Delhi. We are not nominated but elected representatives of the people. We are accountable to the masses. We are hopeful of taking the oath in the assembly,” Bandyopadhyay said.

Speaker Biman Banerjee, who expressed his displeasure over the situation, accused Bose of turning the swearing-in ritual into an “ego battle” and intentionally complicating the issue.

He claimed that an impasse was deliberately created for reasons best known to the governor.

“We were waiting for the governor to come to the assembly, but he didn’t come. Such an impasse is not at all expected. The governor has turned it into an ego battle. He is exercising his powers. I will also consult legal experts to understand my powers,” Banerjee said.

Calling the swearing-in of MLAs a “Constitutional convention”, the Speaker said he considered it a “misfortune” to witness such developments in current times.

The Speaker said he wasn’t aware of any instance where an MP who won a by-poll was sworn in by the President of India.

“Until we take the oath, we cannot function as MLAs. The people of our constituencies are suffering,” Bandyopadhyay said.

Bandyopadhyay and Sarkar were elected from Baranagar near Kolkata and Bhagwangola in Murshidabad district, respectively.

The latest faceoff between the Bengal Governor and the state’s ruling TMC was triggered by a Raj Bhavan communication a few days back inviting the two newly elected MLAs to be present at Raj Bhavan on July 26 for their swearing-in ceremony.

The act, the TMC alleged, was in defiance of the custom of the Governor assigning the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker of the House to do the needful in cases of by-poll winners.

The Raj Bhavan letter also reportedly has no mention of who would administer the oath to the new MLAs.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 26 Jun 2024, 09:22 PM IST