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Mamta seeks to use office of profit issue in polls
March 27, 2006 09:52 IST
With Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's resignation from the Lok Sabha causing ripples in several states, opposition parties in poll-bound West Bengal have decided to cash in on the office of profit controversy.
The Trinamool Congress which has turned the heat on Left MPs by calling for the resignation of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and nine other CPI (M) MPs for holding offices of profit, said it planned to make it a poll issue for the Assembly elections.
"It is definitely going to be a poll issue. Party chief Mamata Banerjee has lodged a complaint against 11 MPs," senior Trinamool leader Saugata Roy told PTI.
The party was also trying to ascertain the number of CPI (M) legislators in West Bengal holding offices of profit. "We will complain to the Governor," he said.
On the other hand, the Congress, which has described Sonia Gandhi's resignation as an act of sacrifice, will also make it a poll issue.
The Left Front, however, said that the opposition's campaign was to divert attention from issues of development and economic progress, which has been accorded top priority by the Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee government and is the major theme of the Leftists.
"We will explain to the people that the Trinamool Congress' allegation is baseless, said CPI (M) leader and chief whip of the Left Front Legislature Party Robin Deb.
After raising hue and cry over the voter's lists, the opposition, which he claimed did not have any policies and programmes, were making allegations against party MPs as a diversionary tactic, he told PTI.
Mamata had earlier said, "If Jaya Bachchan can be disqualified, how can the CPI (M) MPs continue? They have to follow law and the law is the same for everyone."
The onus now lies with the Trinamool Congress to provide details in support of its allegations with the Election Commission asking it to submit them by April 17.
Besides Chatterjee, Trinamool has sought disqualification of Lok Sabha members Mohd Salim, Hannan Mollah, Lakshman Seth, Amitav Nandi, Sudhangshu Sil, Tarit Baran Topdar, Bangsagopal Chaudhury, Sujan Chakraborty, and Rajya Sabha member Nilotpal Basu.
The state Congress, however, has not lent its voice to the Trinamool Congress' demand for resignation of the CPI (M) MPs for holding offices of profit in West Bengal.
"No, no, like Trinamool, we are not demanding the disqualification of CPI (M) MPs. It depends on their conscience," said the state Congress working President Pradip Bhattahcherjee.
On the other hand, the party aimed to highlight Gandhi's resignation."By declining the Prime Minister's chair and now resigning from Lok Sabha, Sonia Gandhi has done what no leader in Indian polity has ever done. Party workers should explain to the people about the values the Congress stand for," said Bhattacherjee.