On the last day of the budget session in the West Bengal Assembly on Friday, Mukul Roy was made the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, much to the disappointment of the opposition BJP. Roy joined the Trinamool Congress last month after he won the assembly polls from Krishnanagar North on a BJP ticket. Four years ago, Roy had left the ruling party for the BJP.
The BJP pitched Ashok Lahiri as the PAC chief and staged a walk-out on the appointment of Roy. Not only did the appointment help accommodate a veteran leader in a position of power but it also deterred the BJP candidate from taking it.
"This is the first time in history that the opposition party has not been given the PAC chairman's post. The Speaker (Biman Bandhopadhyay) has done this intentionally to hide misappropriation of funds. Had BJP's Ashok Lahiri been made the PAC chairman, all the misdoings would have come to light," said Suvendu Adhikari, Leader of the Opposition.
Officially a BJP MLA, Roy hasn't resigned as an MLA despite demands from the saffron party. The BJP, hence, have requested the Speaker for his expulsion under the anti-defection law, the hearing of which is likely to be on July 16.
"There is no rule which says an opposition leader has to be made the PAC chairman. It is only a convention. The Speaker is the sole authority to select the chairman. He has done the right thing," said Trinamool Lok Sabha MP Saugata Roy. The decision to appoint Roy as PAC was taken much earlier when CM Mamata Banerjee extended support to Roy and announced that the speaker's decision on the matter would be final.