KOLKATA: Eminent economist and BJP MLA Ashok Lahiri on Tuesday scotched speculation about his joining the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, but said he is ready to give constructive advice on financial matters to the state government if asked.
Rumours were doing the rounds that one or two BJP legislators, including Lahiri who is a former chief economic adviser to the government of India, are set to defect to the TMC after former Union minister Babul Supriyo joined the Mamata Banerjee-led party on September 18.
The MLA from Balurghat in north Bengal told reporters here that the speculation about his switching sides has no basis and he will continue to work as a BJP MLA.
"There had not been any communication from the Trinamool Congress supremo, other top leaders of the party, from fellow economist and state finance minister Amit Mitra requesting me to join the Trinamool Congress," Lahiri said.
"As an opposition legislator, my job will be to highlight people's issues, their problems. As an economist having helped different states on financial matters, I am ready to give suggestions on technical matters to the state if asked and confidentiality maintained," he said.
To a question on former BJP vice-president Mukul Roy who returned to the TMC shortly after winning the assembly election on a BJP ticket, Lahiri said, "I am not sure whether he belongs to the Trinamool Congress or the BJP currently."
Roy, officially the BJP MLA of Krishnanagar Uttar, did not resign from the assembly.
On the controversial appointment of Roy as the Public Accounts Committee chairman, Lahiri said, "Since the honourable high court has delivered an order on the issue and since the honourable Speaker is deliberating on the matter, I won't comment."
Lahiri was believed to have been considered for the post of chairman of the PAC.
"So far as I am concerned after all these years of service as an economist, I am certainly not enamoured by perks and other facilities associated with the post of PAC chairman. I am a man of simple living," he said.