Dismissing allegations of involvement of her Trinamool Congress in “horse-trading of MLAs (legislators)”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday said she would welcome members of opposition who voted for her party in the Rajya Sabha polls.
“This doesn’t happen in Bengal…Trinamool is the only party that is very transparent…we are the poorest of the poor party please remember. Bengal votes for ideology,” she told media persons here after her party won four of the five Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal.
“If MLAs from opposition parties want to join us, they are most welcome. I cannot say what they want to do…they will let us know if they want to be with us…let them decide,” she said.
Three legislators of the Left Front and two of the Congress in the West Bengal assembly voted for the ruling Trinamool Congress candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls Friday while a Trinamool member voted for an opposition-backed contestant.
The Congress suspended both its rebel members – Sushil Roy and Himani Biswas – who voted for Ahmed Hasan Imran.
Ananta Deb Adhikary and Dasarath Tirkey of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc’s Sunil Mondal also backed Imran, who defeated Independent candidate A.S. Malihabadi.
On the other side, suspended Trinamool Congress lawmaker Sikha Mitra voted in favour of Malihabadi, who had the support of both the Congress and the Left Front.
However, realising that Malihabadi was poised to lose following the cross-voting, the Left gave its surplus votes to its only winning candidate, Ritabrata Banerjee.
“Tirkey is a Scheduled Tribe, Mondal is a Scheduled Caste…there are minorities…let them decide what they want to do,” Banerjee said in reaction to the Congress action.
Banerjee asserted that cross-voting was a political move and “not related to anything else.”
“Since Congress and CPI-M were united, Left Front members had protested. Since the parties got together, ideologically they had protested. This is not related to anything else…this was a political statement. Bengal is a politically matured state,” she said.
“The opposition is always indulging in destructive politics…let Opposition parties play constructive role in politics,” she said.