KOLKATA: In an unprecedented move, a legislator of the ruling TMC in West Bengal on Wednesday staged a sit-in inside the state Assembly, protesting against the ‘corruption’ in his party. Swapan Ghosh, MLA from the Suri constituency in Birbhum district, sat on the stairs of the Assembly building, but, outside the House, he held a placard, demanding drinking water and an end to the corruption. Ghosh was suspended by the TMC for violating “party discipline”.
He said, “I have written to CM Mamata Banerjee detailing all the instances of corruption that have taken place in the party, but to no avail. Central funds to the tune of `10.36 crore, meant for drinking water projects, have been siphoned off by a TMC leader. I had raised these issues with the party’s National Secretary Mukul Roy and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim. Hakim’s excuse was that if he ordered a probe, then the Suri Municipality Chairman will be in jail and the Centre will stop funds.”
This is for the first time in the history of the West Bengal Assembly that a ruling party MLA staged a sit-in against his own party members. In 1969, CM of the then United Front Government, Ajoy Mukherjee, had sat on a protest hunger strike at Curzon Park against their coalition partner, the CPI(M), whose Leader Jyoti Basu was the then state Home Minister. Leaders of Opposition parties, including CPM leader Suryakanta Mishra and Congress MLA Manas Bhuniya, pledged their solidarity with Ghosh and assured him of their support. Earlier, Hakim tried to persuade Swapan to call off his demonstration but an argument ensued and the minister went back to the House. Hakim later alleged that Swapan could not substantiate the corruption charges. TMC General Secretary and Education Minister Partha Chatterjee, while announcing Ghosh’s suspension from the party, said, “For a long time, he has been embarrassing the party by speaking openly and violating party discipline.
We know which political party he had been in touch with. This is motivated too. He is suspended pending inquiry. He started his demonstration at the behest of other political parties whose MLAs are sitting beside him.”
Meanwhile, another former TMC minister Humayan Kabir, who had lost the bypoll after defecting from Congress, fired a salvo at the Chief Minister saying, “I doubt whether Banerjee will be able to complete her term. Soon, she will become a minority leader in the Assembly.”